Action: Remove upper layer of peat/soil (before planting)
Key messagesRead our guidance on Key messages before continuing
- We found no studies that evaluated the effects, on peatland vegetation, of removing the upper layer of peat or soil before planting peatland plants.
‘We found no studies’ means that we have not yet found any studies that have directly evaluated this action during our systematic journal and report searches. Therefore we have been unable to assess whether or not the action is effective or has any harmful impacts. Please get in touch if you know of such a study for this action.
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.
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.