Care-Peat held its second meeting in Dublin on September 27th and 28th 2019. Following a productive project meeting at the impressive DCU Talent Garden building, Care-Peat welcomed a public meeting in the afternoon of September 27th at the DCU Alpha Building. On Friday September 28th, the participants travelled to two pilots sites: Cloncrow and Cavemount bogs where we met representatives from Bord na Mona, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the ETHOS local community group. We were happy to meet you there and to have discussions about the Care-Peat project, the use of new technologies for monitoring peatlands and future restoration opportunities. See you next time!
Introducing Care-Peat and the Irish case
The afternoon session began with a welcome from Irish project partner Terry Morley (NUIG), who opened the meeting and provided a general overview of the project, partners involved and the main scope of the project.
We heard first from Florence Renou-Wilson (UCD) who provided context to Irish peatlands and an overview of previous and existing peatland research in Ireland. Of particular note is the estimate that 39% of Irish peatlands are actively cut for turf, while 6% are cut industrially. While industrial peat extraction for energy will be phased out by 2028, there has been an increase in extraction for horticulture and bedding, which represents a growing threat to peatland conservation.
Seminar 1: Greenhouse Gas Protocol
Care-Peat project partner Sebastian Gogo (University of Orleans) provided a session on the greenhouse gas protocol for the Care-Peat project and we discussed the sampling methodology for each of the pilot sites within the project.
Seminar 2: Irish research perspectives
Following from Florence’s opening presentation, we continued with a seminar on Irish peatlands. This began with a presentation from Care-Peat sub-partner Catherine O’Connell from the Irish Peatland Conservation Council (IPCC). The IPCC is the NGO that monitors 1151 peatlands and has been actively lobbying for peatland conservation for decades. For this project, Catherine will play a key role in providing expertise in transferring sphagnum from intact raised bogs to our pilot site.
Next, sub-partner Maurice Eakin from the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) provided a presentation on the regulations and ecological reporting requirements for peatlands in Ireland. For example over €23 Million has been spent to relocate and stop turf cutting on peatlands. The NPWS has written a best practice manual for raised bog restoration, which Care-Peat will follow for the restoration of their pilot site. Of importance for national inventories, is the inclusion of managed peatlands in national climate and energy calculations to begin in 2026. Thus the condition of many degraded peatlands will increase national emissions and provides an imperative for restoration and rehabilitation.
Then, our invited speaker Matt Saunders from Trinity College Dublin gave a presentation on a current research project ‘SmartBog’, an EPA funded project that is linking IoT sensors with environmental parameters and developing a wider peatland monitoring platform.
Seminar 3: Policy
The final seminar of the day was provided by project partner Niall O’Brolchain (Insight Centre for Data Analytics) who discussed Work Package T2 related to policy and business case scenarios for the project. The attendees participated in some workshops to discuss topics like carbon credits and blue credits.
The day ended with a social evening at the nearby restaurant the Washerwoman.
On Friday September 28th, the attendees departed the DCU campus by bus to travel to two pilots sites.
Stop 1: Cavemount Bog
We made our first stop at Cavemount Bog owned by Associate Partner Bord na Mona. We were met by Mark McCorry, Enda McDonagh and David Fallon from Bord na Mona, who guided us to the site. This is a typical example of an industrial cut away bog. It was in industrial peat production for over 50 years and has been out of production since the last 3-4 years (2015-2016). Here we discussed the rehabilitation plans at the site and their practices for post harvesting peatland areas. Care-Peat will monitor environmental and hydrological parameters in a small area of this site and will take greenhouse gas measures.
Stop 2: Cloncrow Bog
Our second stop was at Cloncrow Bog, a Natural Heritage Area (NHA), partially owned by Sub-partner NPWS. We were met by Eugene Dunbar of the local ETHOS community group, Martin Serrano from Insight Date Centre Galway. We were introduced to Insight’s portable city air monitoring equipment that uses IoT and LoRa technologies to monitor air quality, and discussed the utility of such devices on a project such as Care-Peat. NUIG and the NPWS showed the partners Cloncrow Bog and the proposed restorations and challenges for the restoration of this bog. Currently the project is monitoring water levels via a small nest of piezometers, and is collecting environmental parameters such as soil and air temperature, soil moisture, and PAR.
Restoration plan Meeting
In the afternoon we held a working lunch meeting at Tyrrellspass Castle. We discussed the proposed restoration plans for each pilot site, and concluded the meeting.
Thanks for attending. We were happy to meet you there and to have discussions about the Care-Peat project and future restorations. We are looking forward to our next meeting in the Netherlands.