Restoration of bogs


Cottongrass and Sphagnum moss indicate initial success in the restoration of a lowland raised bog from which forest has been removed

Blanket bog and lowland raised bog are priority habitat types in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. Bogs of both types have been altered by afforestation in the past and some still have the potential to be restored. Since 1989, many attempts have been made to restore bogs by removing forests. In most cases, vegetation mainly of bog species has returned but some have remained too dry and many have tended to scrub over with birch or conifer trees.

Research is in progress to determine cost-effective methodology for restoring bogs altered by afforestation.


Experimental work

Aerial photo of one of the blanket bog restoration experiment sites at Braehour ForestTwo experiments are underway to compare a range of methods for restoring bogs altered by afforestation:

  • The Caithness experiment is on blanket bog at Halsary and Braehour Forests in Caithness (photo left).
  • The Flanders Moss experiment is on a lowland raised bog at Flanders Moss National Nature Reserve, Stirlingshire (photo below right).
 Removed plantation (on left of the picture) at the far edge of Flanders Moss which is site of the lowland raised bog restoration experiment

Closely related work is underway at West Flanders Moss, where a forest on a lowland raised bog is being restored following harvesting of timber over the period 2006 to 2012. Vegetation and invertebrate monitoring are planned to accompany greenhouse gas flux measurements that will gauge the response of these gases to the harvesting and bog restoration.

Future research

Some practical bog restoration projects have only been partially successful. Two main problems remain:


For further information about this work please contact Russell Anderson.