EXTENSIVE PEATLAND STUDY
Buccleuch, working with the Crichton Carbon Centre, have undertaken an intensive exercise to map areas of potential deep peat on estates in the south of Scotland. The Crichton Carbon Centre is an independent, environmental not-for-profit organisation specialising in peatland restoration, carbon management, sustainable land use and environmental education.
Following completion of a detailed report containing information on the peatland areas, to be used within Buccleuch’s wider land use strategy, a programme of restoration and biodiversity enhancement is being planned for the next decade and beyond.
A second phase of peatland restoration work has recently been completed on Buccleuch’s Queensberry Estate supporting a new mentoring scheme to train individuals in bare peat restoration techniques introduced via the partnership and funded by NatureScot Peatland ACTION.
The Crichton Carbon Centre report, commissioned and funded by Buccleuch, has identified 28 sites on the estates where peatland can be restored. This is in addition to more than 150 hectares of peatland that has already been restored across two sites in the Scottish Borders.
Adrian Dolby, head of agriculture at Buccleuch, says: “We’re very pleased to be moving forward with our ambitions to restore peatlands alongside the Crichton Carbon Centre. In the last few years, peatland and its environmental importance has moved beyond a discussion between land managers and scientists and gained greater prominence with the public.
“In Scotland, it is estimated that peatland covers 20% of the land, but around 80% of this is degraded. This puts Scotland, and in turn Buccleuch, in a position where there is the potential to lock in huge quantities of carbon by restoring vast areas of peat. We also, however, face a situation where historic degradation must be addressed before the full positive impact of peatland restoration can be realised.
“Buccleuch has an understanding of the effort required to restore and manage peatland, and we take our environmental responsibilities into account in our wider land use discussions ensuring we make the right decisions for future generations.”
Buccleuch will maintain and manage peatlands in the long-term, with funding for restoration aided by the Scottish Government’s Peatland ACTION project.
PIONEERING MENTORING SCHEME
The mentoring scheme, part of wider Peatland ACTION efforts to increase the skilled workforce for peatland restoration, saw eight carefully selected applicants from across Scotland spend 12 days gaining practical training and experience in peatland restoration by hand. This included the installation of geotextile netting, coir logs and timber dams. Thought to be the first such programme in Scotland, Buccleuch chose to support the upskilling initiative which will be vital as Scotland looks to meet its ambition of restoring 250,000ha of peatland by 2030.
Dr Emily Taylor, General Manager at the Crichton Carbon Centre, said: “Buccleuch is taking its environmental commitment seriously and is facing the task of peatland restoration head on.”
“Working in partnership, we have been able to find the right solutions for the areas restored. The next few years will certainly be busy, but we have already seen change in the areas we have worked on, which is incredibly exciting for the future of the environment and biodiversity.”
Becky Shaw, Workforce Development Manager for Peatland ACTION, commented: “The ambitious targets set for peatland restoration across Scotland mean that there is a huge need for more skilled people in the sector. We are delighted that Buccleuch were keen participants in this project to provide much-needed skills and experience in restoration, which in turn helps support employment in rural areas.”