NatureScot Research Report 1278 - Monitoring the success of Peatland Action - establishing a baseline condition for vegetation.
This project aims to establish the baseline condition of a selection of these sites to enable future long-term monitoring of the effects of the management and restoration measures applied. This report presents the results of baseline surveys of all sites across Scotland which were completed between June 2014 and October 2015. Six management treatments, or combinations of treatments, were sampled: re-profiling and re-turfing, re-profiling and mulch application, blocking of drains by various methods, clearance of plantation and woodland by forestry mulching, clearance of woodland and scrub by conventional felling and peat bunding. Samples of drain blocking treatments accounted for approximately 28% of the total dataset, with peat dams the most popular form of this treatment. Clearance of woodland and scrub by conventional felling accounted for 16% of samples and mulching of plantation and woodland by forestry methods accounted for 12% of samples. Re-profiling and turfing of haggs and gullies accounted for 13% of samples, whereas mulching of bare peat with donor material (such as heather brash), either with or without re-profiling accounted for 10% of samples. Peat bunding was carried out on a single site. In addition to the 'capital works', treatments included the manipulation of management regimes. The datasets collected and interventions applied have been set in the context of existing research and information on similar techniques applied to other peatland sites, to help inform and guide future restoration and monitoring effort.