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 Kristijan Civic 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 Sébastien Gogo France
University of Rennes Marine Alalinarde France
Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences Valentina Sechi Netherlands
North Wales Wildlife Trust Chris Wynne United Kingdom


Peatland restoration and management at the Eurosite Annual Meeting 2020

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There is a first for everything: this year, in which everyone needs to adapt to new and different circumstances, the Eurosite Annual Meeting was organised in an online setting for the very first time. The event was divided into four morning sessions from 2 to 5 November 2020. Eurosite’s working groups played a vital role in the organisation of the sessions, which focussed on management planning, ecosystem services, peatland restoration and management, and remote sensing. On day 3 (4 November 2020), participants were taken on a journey on peatland restoration and management under the guidance of the Peatland Restoration and Management Group’s chair Mr. Paul Leadbitter of the North Pennines AONB Partnership. Read More

Netherlands first carbon credit sale from peatland rewetting

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Case Study: the first sale of carbon credits from peatland rewetting in the Netherlands is a huge success. The concept of carbon credits for peatland rewetting has been around for at least five years, but since early July 2020 it became possible to earn money by increasing the water level in peatland areas. In 'De Lytse Deelen', the first trade in voluntary CO2 certificates took place. By rewetting the peatland a reduction in GHG emissions of 4,370 tons over ten years, is created. A target price of €70 per ton applies to companies and private individuals who want to compensate for their own CO2 emissions. The credits are almost sold out for the first year. Read More

Protection and restoration of peat in valley of the Black Creek managed by Natuurpunt (BE)

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The Flemish Minister for Nature invests 4,2 million euros in the protection and restoration of the existing peat layer in the valley of the Black Creek ('Zwarte Beek'). The area is located upstream from the Care-Peat project area and represents an important reinforcement of our efforts in the valley to restore Flanders' main peat area. In the neighbouring Care-Peat area the preparation of the restoration works is ongoing. As the rewetting of the area will have a significant effect, working together with local stakeholders is indispensable. Read More


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.

National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) - IE

The National University of Ireland Galway is a leading higher education and research organisation ranked in the top 1% of Universities globally. NUIG is involved in over 100 EU projects, securing over 45 million euro in direct funding. The Insight Centre for Data Analytics at NUIG 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. NUIG 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. NUIG 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. NUIG 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.


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.

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Name pilot site: Winmarleigh Moss & 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.

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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. 

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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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