Action: Bury 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 burying 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 or peat (and any vegetation on it) from damaged peatlands could be buried under deeper peat layers, for instance by deep ploughing. Burial can create bare peat with spaces for introduced plants to grow, prevent undesirable plants from growing from seeds already in the soil, and remove excess nutrients that favour growth of undesirable weedy plants (Glen et al. 2017). Inverting, rather than removing, the upper soil layer maintains the ground level.
Caution: Soil burial may be unsuitable for wetter peatlands as heavy machinery involved may churn and compress the peat soil. Burying 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.
Glen E., Price E.A.C., Caporn S.J.M., Carroll J.A., Jones L.M. & Scott R. (2017) Evaluation of topsoil inversion in UK habitat creation and restoration schemes. Restoration Ecology, 25, 72–81.
Lindsay R.A. & Clough J. (2016) A review of the influence of ombotrophic peat depth on the successful restoration of bog habitat. Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report 925.