An Isles peatland restoration project has won a best practice award for large-scale practical nature conservation.
Scottish Natural Heritage’s Peatland Action project, which is overseen in the isles by Shetland Amenity Trust, won the award at a ceremony in Birmingham on 30th June that was held by the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) Awards.
The awards are styled a day to celebrate excellence in the fields of ecology and environmental management, with previous winners including Sir David Attenborough.
Since 2014 peatland restoration project officer Sue White has been helping land managers or common grazings committees assess the condition of their peatland and identifying practices that could improve the condition of the habitat and obtain funding. Shetland Amenity Trust’s Woodlands squad and local contractor Sean Mackenzie carried out the practical Peatland Action funded restoration work.
Andrew McBride of SNH said: “This is a great accolade for us from one of the UK’s leading professional environmental membership bodies representing and supporting ecologists and environmental managers. It reflects and acknowledges the hard work, commitment and innovation by those involved which has made Peatland Action such a success.”
The Peatland Action project began in September 2012, when the Scottish government allocated SNH £5m from the Green Stimulus Package to deliver:
• Restoration and management of peatlands to maintain carbon stores and encourage carbon sequestration to restore peatland ecosystem functions;
• Enhanced ecosystem resilience to climate change;
• Greater peatland restoration capacity and understanding among land managers, contractors, advisors and the public.
In June last year a further £3 million was announced that has enabled the project to undertake restoration of another 3,000 hectares building on the 5,580 hectares that saw physical restoration work between 2013-14.
Another significant part of the project has been to spread the wealth of knowledge and expertise on peatland restoration built by our project officers, land managers and contractors through a series of demonstration events.
The project will continue with the work of monitoring peatland and using previously gathered data to assist land managers identify the best options for land use and conservation.