Remove upper layer of peat/soil (before planting)
Overall effectiveness category No evidence found (no assessment)
Number of studies: 0
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Background information and definitions
The upper layer of soil/peat (and any vegetation on it) could be removed from damaged peatlands, creating a new surface of bare peat for introducing vegetation with fewer nutrients, no undesirable seed bank, and often wetter and less acidic peat since the surface is closer to the water table (Grootjans et al. 2002). Clearing surface peat could also remove a hard crust or loose peat through which water cannot easily rise to the plants above.
Caution: Soil stripping may be unsuitable for wetter peatlands as heavy machinery involved may churn and compress the peat soil. Stripping surface peat from bogs may expose fen peat, which has different chemical properties to bog peat and will not (in the short term) support bog vegetation (Lindsay & Clough 2016).
Key peatland types where this action may be appropriate: bogs, fens/fen meadows, tropical peat swamps.
Related actions: remove surface peat/soil without introducing vegetation; reprofiling/relandscaping, e.g. building ridges or embankments, before planting; bury surface peat/soil before planting.
Grootjans A.P., Bakker J.P., Jansen A.J.M. & Kemmers R.H. (2002) Restoration of brook valley meadows in the Netherlands. Hydrobiologia, 478, 149–170.
Lindsay R.A. & Clough J. (2016) A review of the influence of ombrotrophic peat depth on the successful restoration of bog habitat. Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report 925.
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This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:Peatland Conservation
Peatland Conservation - Published 2018