Restoration works completed at pilot sites Lancashire Wildlife Trust (UK)

Lancashire Wildlife Trust completed the restoration works at Winmarleigh Moss and Little Woolden Moss.  

Winmarleigh Moss - Carbon Farm
The Winmarleigh carbon farm is now complete, with the below works being carried out:

  • Bespoke pump and irrigation system installed – this is solar powered and controlled by a ballcock system that automatically pumps water across the site from the water retention area and sump pits if water levels dip below a certain point. Sensors also provide alerts about hydrology changes, adjustments can then be made remotely – allowing us to control the bog from home!
  • 150,000 Beadahumok plugs of sphagnum moss (from project partners, Beadamoss®) have been planted across the site, these are growing well and many have already doubled in size.
  • Phragmites australis (common reed) has been planted in the two end cells. This will help to filter any additional nutrients out of the water before it runs off into surrounding ditches. This could also provide a paludiculture nurse crop for future carbon farms, removing nutrients from previously farmed peatlands before sphagnum planting and providing a profitable crop, without having to remove topsoil.
  • A layer of straw has been spread across the site to provide a microclimate and provide shelter for the sphagnum whilst it is getting established.

Project knowledge partners, Manchester Metropolitan University, are monitoring greenhouse gas fluxes both on the carbon farm site and on surrounding drained farmland to compare carbon release/sequestration levels.

Little Woolden Moss - companion planting trial
The companion planting trial is now complete, with a 2ha area of Little Woolden Moss that was formerly bare peat being planted with a mixture of 75% common cotton grass (Eriophorum angustifolium) and 25% hare’s-tail cotton grass (Eriophorum vaginatum) interspersed with Beadahumok’s of sphagnum consisting of a mix of S. capillifolium (30%), S. palustre (30%), S. papillosum (30%), S. medium/divinum (5%) and S. subnitens (%5). The cotton grasses were planted 6 months before the Sphagnum plugs to allow them to establish and provide sufficient shelter for the Sphagnum. 

Monthly monitoring is being undertaken of methane and carbon dioxide fluxes, along with environmental variables such as water table depth (WTD), soil temperature and photosynthetically active radiation (PAR).  

The project will be looking at Sphagnum growth rate within the established cotton grasses, compared to a control plot of bare peat that has been left to revegetate naturally. We will also be recording any suggested influence on greenhouse gas fluxes.

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