Conservationists turn to glue to make seeds stick on windy Yorkshire moor

Vp plc has teamed up with Yorkshire Peat Partnership, led by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, to support the restoration of vital peatland.

Peatlands are a type of wetland that is critical for preventing and mitigating the effects of climate change, preserving biodiversity, minimising flood risk, and filtering our drinking water. In peatlands, year-round water-logged conditions slow plant decomposition to such an extent that dead plants accumulate to form peat. This stores the carbon the plants absorbed from the atmosphere within peat soils, providing a net-cooling effect and helping to mitigate the climate crisis.

Yorkshire Peat Partnership has already undertaken work to restore the upland peatlands of North Yorkshire – a habitat known as blanket bog – bringing almost 42,000 hectares into restoration management. It is a globally rare habitat with around 13% of the world’s blanket bog found in the UK; over a quarter of England’s blanket bog is in Yorkshire.

One of the most challenging aspects of peatland restoration is bare peat facing into the prevailing wind, where the work is often scoured away by the harsh weather. It can require multiple visits – and therefore increased costs – to restore this kind of erosion.

Restoration techniques on these highly exposed, bare areas – spreading a mixture of cut heather, grasses and moss rich with seed (known as brash) – have resulted in a 50% success rate, requiring up to three visits and costing as much as £28,000 per hectare for success. It is vital, though, to get these areas revegetated to knit the restored areas together, leaving no ingress for the weather to start once more eroding the peat.

A new technique on trial involves spraying a site in the Yorkshire Dales with a prototype mix of organic glue and grass seed onto patches of bare peat. As the grass takes root, it will stabilise the peat and so help characteristic bog vegetation to re-establish and thrive.

Working with University of Manchester and TerraFix Ltd, Yorkshire Peat Partnership has established a series of plots to test different mixes of glue and seed. Over the next 18 months, the plots will be carefully monitored to assess the most effective. If successful, this technique could both accelerate peatland restoration and reduce the overall cost.

Vp plc is very excited to be supporting Yorkshire Peat Partnership with a project that can play a significant role in combatting climate change.

You can read all about the project in an article published by the Guardian here.

Image credit: Jenny Sharman/YPP


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