A peatland at the foot of the Pentland Hills, in Midlothan on the outskirts of Edinburgh was unusually busy this April as 43 scientists and restoration practitioners visited the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology's flagship field facilities Auchencorth Moss and Whim Bog.
This formed part of a pan-European knowledge exchange about peatland and wetland restoration, with the aim of providing benefits to biodiversity, combatting climate change, and providing economic and societal benefits at scale.
With over 40 organisations involved, the EU H2020-funded MERLIN project is committed to transformative ecosystem restoration, and the Firth of Forth catchment is one of 18 case studies across Europe where restoration will be implemented and monitored to inform best practice and upscaling.
This meeting was an opportunity for scientists at UKCEH to showcase their experience and dedication to long-term monitoring infrastructure. Auchencorth Moss and Whim Bog are two of UKCEH’s longest-running field sites, contributing vital data to peatland, air quality and freshwater research during their decades of operation.
The Peatland and Wetland Cluster Workshop was led by Amy Pickard. Matthew Jones presented on long-term environmental impact monitoring at the sites, Mhairi Coyle on greenhouse gas measurements and related ecosystem changes and Amy Pickard on UKCEH’s ecosystem monitoring work on peatland restoration.
Westland Horticulture (the largest supplier of horticultural and domestic peat and non-peat compost in the UK) provided a tour of its peatland extraction site and equipment. The company representatives and delegates discussed future policy and financing challenges for the extraction industry, supply chain considerations in a ‘peat free’ world, including impacts on agricultural food security, and future research and collaborative opportunities in peatland research and restoration.
MERLIN is a €20 million project funded by the European Commission's H2020 programme, bringing together partners from across Europe including universities, research institutes, nature conservation organisations and stakeholders from business, government and municipalities. It is led by the University of Duisberg Essen, Germany, and is running for four years (2021-2025).
The UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology site on the Bush Estate provides state-of-the-art laboratories, environmental observatories, experimental platforms and digital infrastructures constitute a great platform for researchers and students; and our partnerships, which cross borders, sectors and disciplines, contribute to a stimulating and inclusive research environment.
For further information, please contact:
UK CEH - Edinburgh site
Midlothian, EH26 0QB
t: +44 (0)131 4454343
Blog and photo credit: Dr Matthew Jones, Field Logistics Scientist, UK CEH