Our newest team member, Phoebe, blogs about attending the Peatland Restoration training event, delivered by us on behalf of PeatlandACTION.
The Crichton Carbon Centre recently delivered a two-day Peatland ACTION restoration training event at the community hub in Eskdalemuir, Dumfries and Galloway. CCC regularly manage and deliver peatland restoration training programmes on behalf of Peatland ACTION at different venues across Scotland. This training event was one of our most popular and fully booked with a total of 27 attendees!
As part of my role as a Project Officer will be to work with the wider team to deliver restoration projects, I attended the training to gain a better understanding on the theory and principles behind peatland restoration. I was aware of the significance of peatlands as a vital habitat for biodiversity and climate regulation, but I wanted to increase my knowledge on the most effective restoration techniques and how to plan and design a restoration project.
It was great to see the variety of organisations represented at the training, ranging from ecological consultancies to foresters and contractors. Meeting people occupying various roles within peatland restoration was encouraging, as it highlights a collective awareness of the significance of peatlands and a notable increase in companies recognising the importance of restoration efforts. Additionally, engaging in discussions with participants from varied backgrounds deepened my knowledge on work associated with peatlands.
Day 1 kicked off with an overview of the extent and condition of peatlands in Scotland, delving into the reasons behind peatland restoration and their inherent value. It was fascinating to learn how peatlands play a crucial role in biodiversity, water regulation, and quality improvement. They also hold value for farming, game, and landowners, not to mention their impressive carbon storage capacity. However, these benefits are only realised when peatlands are in good condition. Degraded peatlands do the opposite; they release carbon, lose water-holding capacity, and adversely impact water management, quality, and biodiversity. The different peatland condition categories, crucial to record and take into account when designing restoration plans, including Near Natural, Modified, Drained, or Actively Eroding, were also covered.
The second half of the day covered the various peatland restoration techniques by working through the contents of the Peatland ACTION Technical Compendium. Gaining insights into various techniques and assessing their suitability and effectiveness in specific situations was beneficial and helped me to contextualise restoration techniques I'd seen during peatland surveys. Analysing images of past peatland restoration projects and engaging in discussions about their success was thought-provoking and emphasised the importance of choosing the right technique.
Day 2 saw us progress from the restoration techniques to discussing the practical aspects of designing and delivering restoration projects. This involved essential knowledge required prior to project design, along with broader considerations such as timing and other practical aspects. For me, the highlight of the training was the interactive workshop. We were divided into four groups and tasked with planning and designing a peatland restoration project for a theoretical site. It was helpful to put everything we had learnt during the course into action! The workshop ensured we considered all aspects of project design, from health and safety concerns and land management to the hydrology and peatland condition of the site, along with choosing the most suitable restoration techniques.
Overall, the Peatland ACTION training event was an invaluable experience that has equipped me with essential skills for implementing successful peatland restoration projects. The interactive and comprehensive nature of the workshop, covering theoretical principles, restoration techniques, and project planning, provided a well-rounded understanding. The event underscored the critical role of well-maintained peatlands in biodiversity, water regulation, and carbon storage, emphasising the need for effective restoration practices.
If you're involved in PeatlandACTION restoration in Scotland, you can sign up to our mailing list to be notified of future training events here.