Care-Peat - Restoring the carbon storage capacity of peatlands

Project Summary

Taking care of peatlands

Care-Peat is an Interreg North-West Europe (NWE) project with 12  partners working together to reduce carbon emissions and restore the carbon storage capacity of different types of peatlands in North-West Europe. The main partnership consists of 7  knowledge institutes and 5  nature organisations from Belgium, France, Ireland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Together with 7 sub-partners and 41 associated partners , we develop and test new techniques and socio-economic strategies for carbon reduction.

Peatlands tackling climate change

Why focus on peatlands? Peatlands are not only habitats with a highly specialised flora and fauna, they also play an important role in global climate regulation. Northern hemisphere peatlands count for 3 to 5% of total land area and contain approximately 33% of global soil carbon. Therefore peatlands have a strong natural potential to save carbon and play an important role in nature based solutions for climate change.

When peatlands are drained, the well preserved carbon is released as greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. That is why it is important to keep peatlands wet. Unfortunately many peatlands are degraded and emit rather than store carbon. The global annual greenhouse gas emissions from drained organic soils are twice that from aviation. We need to act now to prevent further degradation and encourage more recovery of our remaining peatlands.

What does Care-Peat do?

The main goal of Care-Peat is to set up and demonstrate innovative technologies for new restoration and carbon measurement techniques and involve local and regional stakeholders.

Therefore the nature organisations, together with local landowners, restore peatlands of 7  different pilot sites ranging from 1 to 250 hectares and demonstrate the (potential) carbon savings of the restoration. For each pilot site different restoration techniques are used - from manual management to growing additional peat moss. Throughout the project the organisations are supported by the knowledge institutes that work together to develop and test new equipment, methods and models to predict carbon flows (e.g. by the use of drones and satellites to guide restoration and provide input for carbon models). Care-Peat also works with innovative companies in the field of restoration and develops partnerships with local and regional stakeholders to increase the impact of pilots and maximise socio-economic benefits.

Important outputs of Care-Peat are the publication of a management and decision support tool and a set of socio-economic models concerning the best options for peatland restoration in regard to carbon storage. This way the results of the project are transferred and replicated to users across North-West Europe to determine the most appropriate management measures, even after Care-Peat has ended.

In 2021, as part of the Interreg NWE programme, the Care-Peat project was given the opportunity to strengthen its scope with a so called ‘capitalisation project’. The aim is to apply the project results to new areas and a new target group in North-West Europe. The approval resulted in no less than 3 new partners and 6 new associated partners who joined our consortium.

In the capitalisation project we develop a unified methodology for assessing GHG emissions from peatlands, that is widely applicable in North-West Europe (different peatland types and regions), and thus increase the impact of the decision support tool. Also we will include farmers and farmer organisations as a new main target group by engaging with them directly and incorporate best practices for carbon savings on farmland.

How much carbon can be saved?

Care-Peat is ambitious. By the end of the project in 2023, we expect that about 8137 tonnes of carbon emissions per year are prevented from losses and stored in the 7 pilot sites (in total approximately 645 hectares).

After 2023 we hope that nature conservation and other organisations all over the North-West Europe region will take further measures, resulting in the restoration of many more peatlands. And the more peatlands are restored, the more carbon is saved. In this way peatlands can become an important natural partner in climate policies across North-West Europe.

Project Partners

Lead partner

Organisation Address Email Website
Natuurpunt 11 Coxiestraat
Name Contact Name Email Country
Eurosite Wojciech Mróz Netherlands
French Geological Survey Laurent Andre France
Lancashire Wildlife Trust Jo Kennedy United Kingdom
Manchester Metropolitan University Chris Field United Kingdom
National University of Ireland Galway Terry Morley Ireland
Natuurmonumenten Arnoud Popping Netherlands
Scientific Research National Centre Fatima Laggoun France
University of Orleans Juliette Mazeron France
University of Rennes Sébastien Gogo France
Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences Jasper Vanbelle Netherlands
North Wales Wildlife Trust Richard Cutts United Kingdom


Brussels Care-Peat Policy Makers Workshop: Bringing peatlands to the political heart of Europe

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On 26th October 2022, Care-Peat hosted a joint event in Brussels with the WaterLANDS project to discuss peatland policy recommendations developed with stakeholders and to advocate for stronger peatland targets in the proposal for the new EU Nature Restoration Law. The event, attended by MEPs, Directorate-Generals, and other policy stakeholders, called for a range of new measures, including the significant increase of peatland restoration targets for 2050, and the mandatory monitoring of restoration. Read More

Natuurpunt starts crucial phase in the Valley of the Black Creek: colander becomes sponge

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Almost three kilometers of waterways will be releveled in the valley of the Black Creek as icing on the Care peat cake. After almost 2 years of procedures (and many workshops, meetings, site visits, persuasion and a hydrological study especially commissioned for this), Natuurpunt has finally been granted the permit to carry out the relevelling of 2.7km of waterways to 20 cm below ground level. Read More

Winmarleigh carbon farm chosen as handover location for world’s longest ever attempted relay

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In October the Running out of Time relay visited one of Care-Peat’s UK pilot site projects at the Winmarleigh carbon farm. The Running out of Time relay was the longest non-stop relay ever attempted, starting in Glasgow, UK, the site of COP26 and continuing 7,767km all the way to Sharm-el-Sheik in Egypt, the site of COP27. The relay aimed to highlight the desperate plight our planet faces in the face of the climate emergency and passed a handful of outstanding climate-positive projects along the route – and the Winmarleigh carbon farm was chosen as one of them, one of only 27 in the UK. Read More

Press release: “For Peat’s Sake”: Brussels Nature Restoration Law Event

Posted on

On 26th October 2022, Horizon 2020 project WaterLANDS and Interreg North-West Europe project Care-Peat hosted a joint event in Brussels to discuss peatland policy recommendations developed with stakeholders and to advocate for stronger peatland targets in the proposal for the new EU Nature Restoration Law. The event, attended by MEPs, Directorate-Generals, and other policy stakeholders, called for a range of new measures, including the significant increase of peatland restoration targets for 2050, and the mandatory monitoring of restoration. Read More


Webinar 'Peatlands in the new CAP'

, Online

On Wednesday the 3rd of June, you can follow the interesting webinar 'Peatlands in the new CAP'. This goes alongside the publication of the policy paper “Peatlands in the EU. Common Agriculture Policy After 2020.”, released by Wetlands International Europe, Greifswald Mire Centre and the National University of Ireland, Galway. This event will present the science base behind peatlands at EU level, show examples of farming on peatlands, inform about practical and political solutions and how these could be integrated into the new CAP.
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Open Care-Peat meeting with workshops and site visit

, Near Eindhoven, the Netherlands

On Tuesday February 4th and Wednesday February 5th, the partners of Interreg Care-Peat will meet in The Netherlands. Next to our partner meeting we will hold different workshop concerning our scientific programme and socio-economic strategies. Also we will visit nature reserve Deurnsche Peel-Mariapeel together with peatland expert Gert-Jan van Duinen. The good news is that you are most welcome to join us. Check the program and register below. Registration is possible until January 27th 1 pm.
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Care-Peat at the "NWE making an impact" event in France

, La Chaufferie, Tourcoing, France

December 4 and 5th, an Interreg North-West Europe event will take place in Tourcoing, France, called "NWE making an impact". The event will focus on the results achieved by the 83 NWE projects funded so far, and how to further support their uptake and impact. The event is aimed firstly at project partners as well as decision makers at European, national and local level. This will be a nice opportunity to meet other projects and stakeholders, and to discuss about future cooperations. Care-Peat will also be present at the event, with a stand. Feel free to visit and meet us live at the event. Register now.
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Open Care-Peat meeting with workshops and site visits

, Dublin, Ireland

On Thursday September 26th and Friday September 27th 2019, the partners of Interreg Care-Peat will meet in Ireland. We will further discuss our peatland restoration plans, different greenhouse gas measurements as well as a general measurement plan, and socio-economic strategies. We will have workshops and visit some interesting local sites. The good news is that you are most welcome to join us. Check the program and register.
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Who we are

Within Care-Peat five knowledge institutes and four nature organisations from five different countries work together to reduce carbon emissions and restore the carbon storage capacity of different types of peatlands in North-West Europe. The nature organisations, together with local landowners, restore peatlands of five different pilot sites ranging from 10 to 250 hectares and demonstrate the (potential) carbon savings of the restoration. The knowledge institutes work together to develop and test new equipment, methods and models to predict carbon flows.

Get to know the different partners and their role within Care-Peat:

Natuurpunt - BE

With over 110.000 members and 6.000 volunteers, Natuurpunt is the largest Belgian nature conservation organisation. The long term protection of important habitats, species and landscapes is the main goal. To achieve this, they buy and manage nature reserves, study species and habitats, raise awareness and run educational programs for a general and specific public and lobby local and regional governments.

Natuurpunt is the lead partner of Care-Peat. Natuurpunt is responsible for the project management, general communication, and the development and demonstration of new methods of restoration of carbon sequestration capacity in a lowland peatland with adaptive management techniques for habitat conservation.

Scientific Research National Centre (CNRS) - FR

CNRS is one of the most important research institutes in the world. Its scientists explore the biosphere, the matter, the universe and functioning of human societies to raise current stakes. Its scientific objectives are focused on developing the knowledge based on fundamental works, which are coordinated by different institutes. CNRS is coordinating the French Peatland Observatory composed of 4 sites, including La Guette, equipped for monitoring meteorology, GHG emissions, hydrology and vegetation.

Its main roles in Care-Peat are: 1) coordination of GHG fluxes in different sites, writing transferable and replicable protocol; 2) validation of protocol: study of La Guette peatland functioning; inter-partner discussion on strategies and to implement works; 3) implement transferable tools and interoperable information system to evaluate strategies.

French Geological Survey Office (BRGM) - FR

BRGM is France’s reference public institution for Earth Science applications in the management of surface and subsurface resources and risks. The key objectives are the understanding of geological processes and associated risks, the development of new methodologies and techniques, the production and dissemination of data to support the management of soils, subsoils and resources, the delivery of the necessary tools for the management of soils, subsoils and their resources, risk prevention and policy responses to climate change.

Within Care-Peat, BRGM will have a transverse role since it will provide a technical support to each pilot site. BRGM will contribute to environmental modelling by studying the gas transfers from peatlands. Both transfer model and GIS support tool will be developed to simulate and to predict the role of restoration actions on the gas transfers on the mid and long-term.

Lancashire Wildlife Trust (LWT) - UK

The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside is a conservation charity dedicated to enhancing habitats and protecting wildlife in the North West of England. It is one of 46 Wildlife Trusts across the United Kingdom. The Trust is also the region's largest conservation volunteering organisation, employing some 1.500 volunteers to work with our 150-plus dedicated staff. It is also involved in engaging thousands of people with wildlife and has more than 30.000 members supporting its work. Over the past 20 years the Trust has bought up areas of lowland raised bog in Lancashire and Greater Manchester. 

Its main role in Care-Peat is, with sub-partner Micropropagation Services and the other project partners, to deliver pilots of new methods of reducing carbon through peatland restoration. On farmland next to the Winmarleigh Moss site (the North West's best example of lowland raised bog), they want to demonstrate the viability of alternative land use, in this case sphagnum growing for carbon, on peatland sites adjacent to wildlife restoration sites and show its benefit both in terms of carbon and improvement to the wildlife site. They also wish to demonstrate the carbon benefits related to restoration techniques involving planting particular species at the site near Manchester, Little Woolden Moss. They will also work to influence policy makers, landowners and others through their involvement in the Great Manchester Wetlands partnership and the Lancashire Peat Partnership.


Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) - UK

Manchester Metropolitan University is a public university located in Manchester, England.

Within Care-Peat, Manchester Metropolitan University will work with the nature conservation and knowledge partners during the pilot development stage to assess ground condition, hydrology, topography and drainage, peat depth and quality and site biogeochemistry. From this, they will advise on the best approaches for restoration, the ground conditions and species mix to achieve this, and the protection methods that will accelerate restoration and maximise carbon sequestration. They will work alongside the other knowledge partners to monitor GHG and carbon balance at UK sites and will analyse satellite and drone imagery to inform water management and monitor restoration success across all pilot sites. With Lancashire Wildlife Trust and Micropropagation Services Ltd., they will establish a large 4 ha Sphagnum moss ‘Carbon’ farm on existing grazed grassland which will reduce water loss from a neighbouring bog and lower GHG emissions from both the agricultural land and bog. This will become a European case-study of an example of how integrated land management can benefit restoration, carbon sequestration and the local economy.

University of Galway (NUI) - Ireland

The University of Galway s a leading higher education and research organisation ranked in the top 1% of universities globally. NUI is involved in over 100 EU projects, securing over 45 million euro in direct funding. The Insight Centre for Data Analytics at NUI is a joint initiative between researchers at 4 Irish Universities and other partner institutions bringing more than 400 researchers from these institutions and more than 80 industry partners, to position Ireland at the heart of global data analytics research. Insight has extensive experience in designing, building and implementing information portals using co-creation techniques involving the public, private, academic and community sectors. It also has an extensive citizen science and community outreach programme.

Within Care-Peat, NUI Galway and Insight will lead the Irish consortium that includes two sub partners (The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and the Irish Peatland Conservation Council) and a number of associate partners. NUI will coordinate activities at the Irish pilot sites and serve as a focal point for knowledge transfer among the Irish sub-partners, associate partners and the international project partners. NUI will perform high-resolution spatial mapping at all project pilots and coordinate activities at the Irish pilots. Insight will provide support with knowledge and data transfer and policy implications related to Irish carbon strategies. Insight will lead the policy work for Care-Peat as a whole. NUI will develop a set of sustainable use cases and socio-economic models (based on data from the pilot sites and other information) to provide ecosystem services and integrated landscape strategies to promote the roll-out of developed techniques and methods for peatland restoration using the decision support tool to be developed by Care-Peat. They plan to develop policies and strategies together with key governance stakeholders including politicians at local, regional, national and EU level with a focus on maximising carbon reduction. The economic model of restoration will be fully examined including the use of carbon and blue credits, sphagnum farming and co-location with renewable energy projects.

Eurosite - NL

Eurosite is the network for Europe’s natural site managers. Their mission is to provide opportunities for practitioners to network and exchange experience on practical nature management. Therefore, they bring together non-governmental and governmental organisations, and individuals and organisations committed to their vision. 

Within Care-Peat, Eurosite is responsible for the long term development and implementation of the project. It is Eurosite’s role to involve landowners, nature organisations and policy makers on all levels, from all over North-West Europe and the EU through the organisation of activities to show and explain developed strategies and methods. Among the long-term activities will be the creation of a transnational peatland management group.

Natuurmonumenten - NL

Natuurmonumenten (Society for preservation of nature monuments in the Netherlands) is a Dutch NGO founded in 1905, that buys, protects and manages nature reserves in the Netherlands. It is run by and for people who care about the Dutch nature. Natuurmonumenten has 363 sites under management, with a total area of more than 150.000 hectares. Natuurmonumenten counts over 700.000 members and works together with almost 10.000 volunteers.

Within Care-Peat, Natuurmonumenten will develop a method to increase the carbon storage capacity of lowland peatlands by creating peat pits in nature reserve De Wieden.

Université d’Orléans (UO) - FR

The Université d'Orléans is a higher education center that delivers diplomas at the bachelor, master and PhD levels. The UO is structured in faculties: 1) sciences and techniques, 2) humanities, 3) Law and management, 4) Universe Sciences Observatory. The research activities are developed in all these fields and in connection with research institute located in the Orléans Grand Campus: CNRS (fundamental), INRA (agronomy), BRGM (geology), CNES (space agency).

Within Care-Peat, The Université d'Orléans will be in charge of coordinating the writing of the in situ scientific program. It will participate to the in situ CO2 fluxes monitoring in the French pilot as well as in the other pilots. Prof. Guimbaud of UO in the Laboratory of Physics and Chemistry of the Environment and Space (LPC2E), will be involved because of his skills in CH4 fluxes measurement. He has the equipement and the competence that will allow the UO-team to undertake the CH4 fluxes monitoring.

The Care-Peat pilot sites

Our main goal is to set up and demonstrate innovative technologies for new restoration and carbon measurement techniques and involve local and regional stakeholders. 

Therefore we selected five different pilot sites across Europe ranging from 10 to 250 hectares and demonstrate the potential carbon savings of the restoration. For each pilot site different restoration techniques are used - from manual labour to growing additional peat moss.


Name pilot site: De Wieden

Partners: Natuurmonumenten

GOAL: in this pilot we will create peat pits. By creating these, more space becomes available for water plants to grow  In these pits, plants can capture carbon. space is also created for peat to grow and absorb carbon.

Check this page for more information.


Name pilot site: Winmarleigh Moss (Carbon Farm) & Little Woolden Moss

Partners: Lancashire Wildlife Trust 

GOAL: with this project, we aim to persuade landowners to use fields to capture and store carbon, preventing it from escaping and adding to the problems of climate change. Therefore, Lancashire Wildlife Trust is working with partners to create a ‘carbon farm’ on their pilot site, growing Sphagnum moss for the purpose of storing and protecting soil carbon on farmland next to LWT’s lowland raised bog Winmarleigh Moss SSSI nature reserve, near Garstang, Lancashire, North West England.

Check this page for more information.

> Find out all you need to know about the innovative Carbon Farm


Name pilot site: Valley of the Black Creek

Partners: Natuurpunt

GOAL: With Interreg Care-Peat, Natuurpunt wants to counter the degradation of this landscape by restoring 250ha of degraded peat with a subsequently sustainable adaptive management. Restoring a natural water balance is a crucial first step, small drainage watercourses and ditches are releveled or dampened in order to keep the peat wet. 

Check this page for more information.



Name pilot site: La Guette

Partners: University of Orleans + Scientific Research National Centre + French Geological Survey

GOAL: The objective for this pilot is to increase the scale of the restoration tested in the previous project by stripping peat on the first 5 cm and adding Sphagnum in patches in 2 zones of approximately 20 m x 30 m. The stripping of the peat will induce the growth of several plant species of interest. The expected results are an increase in floristic diversity typical of peat and plant species of interest, beyond the quantities present before the management action, as well as an increase in the capacity to store C through a significant increase of the Sphagnum percentage cover.

> Check this page for more information.


Name pilot site: Cloncrow bog

Partners: National University of Ireland Galway (NUI)

GOAL: Cloncrow Bog is designated as a Natural Heritage Area (NHA) which consists of 200ha. Former activities resulted in loss of habitat. Current land uses on the site comprise active peat-cutting to the east of the high bog margin and afforestation on both the high bog and the cutover. The Care-Peat pilot consists of 26 ha which will undergo drain blocking and vegetation restoration. 


> Check this page for more information.

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