Stabilize peatland surface to help plants colonize

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
  • Certainty
  • Harms

Study locations

Key messages

  • One study evaluated the effects of stabilizing the peatland surface (without planting) on peatland vegetation. The study was in a bog.
  • Vegetation cover (1 study): One controlled, before-and-after study in a bog in the UK found that pegging coconut fibre rolls onto almost-bare peat did not affect the development of vegetation cover (total, mosses, shrubs or cottongrasses).

About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A controlled, before-and-after study in 2007–2010 in a degraded blanket bog in England, UK (Anderson et al. 2011) found that adding coconut fibre rolls to stabilize the peat surface had no effect on vegetation cover. Comparing data from before intervention and three years after, vegetation cover increased by a similar amount in areas with and without the rolls. This was true for total vegetation cover (with rolls: from 6 to 10%; without: from 15 to 20%), moss cover (with rolls: from 0 to 1.0%; without: from 0 to 2.5%), dwarf shrub cover (with rolls: from 0.5 to 1%; without: from 0.5 to 4%) and common cottongrass Eriophorum angustifolium cover (with rolls: from 1 to 3%; without: from 4 to 7%). In March 2007, coconut fibre rolls were pegged onto an area of almost-bare peat to stabilize it. An adjacent area was left untreated. Sheep were excluded from both areas before the study began. In 2007 (before intervention) and 2010, vegetation cover was estimated in thirty 2 x 2 m quadrats/area.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Taylor, N.G., Grillas, P. & Sutherland, W.J. (2020) Peatland Conservation. Pages 367-430 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2020. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.

Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

All the journals searched for all synopses

Peatland Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Peatland Conservation
Peatland Conservation

Peatland Conservation - Published 2018

Peatland Conservation

What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 21

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.

Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape ProgrammeRed List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Mauritian Wildlife Supporting Conservation Leaders
Sustainability Dashboard National Biodiversity Network Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Bat Conservation InternationalPeople trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust