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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: United Utilities Sustainable Catchment Management Programme Volume 3: The Restoration of Highly Degraded Blanket Bog

Published source details

Anderson P., Worrall P., Ross S., Hammond G. & Keen A. (2011) United Utilities Sustainable Catchment Management Programme Volume 3: The Restoration of Highly Degraded Blanket Bog. Penny Anderson Associates report. Penny Anderson Associates Report.


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Stabilize peatland surface to help plants colonize Peatland Conservation

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.

(Summarised by Nigel Taylor)

Restore/create peatland vegetation (multiple interventions) Peatland Conservation

A replicated, controlled, before-and-after study in 2007–2010 in a degraded blanket bog in England, UK (Anderson et al. 2011) reported that areas restored using multiple interventions developed a different plant community to unrestored areas, and found that they had greater vegetation cover. All areas were initially bare peat. Three years after intervention, the overall plant community composition differed between restored and unrestored areas (data reported as a graphical analysis; difference not tested for statistical significance). Restored areas had developed greater cover than an unrestored area of total vegetation (60–88% vs 15%), mosses (13–25% vs 1%) and heather Calluna vulgaris (2–25% vs 1%). Heather cover was particularly high in plots covered with heather brash. Note that most of the vegetation cover in restored areas was the nurse grass (33–47% cover). In winter 2007/2008, four areas (bare gully sides) were restored by sowing grass seed as a nurse crop (41 kg/ha, mix of six species), fertilization (nitrogen-phosphorous-potassium, 250 kg/ha), liming (1 t/ha) and gully blocking (with stone or heather bales). Two areas were also covered with heather brash (including heather seeds) and one covered in geojute matting. One additional area was not restored (received no intervention). Before monitoring began, sheep were excluded from the entire bog. Vegetation cover was estimated before (summer 2007) and after (summer 2010) restoration, in thirty 2 x 2 m quadrats/area.

(Summarised by Nigel Taylor)