Friday 16 October 2015

Little Firthhope: The results...

For our regular blog readers, you'll know all about the peat restoration works that we did last year up at Little Firthhope. For those of you who don't, check out these previous posts first to get an idea of what we got up to;
As part of our ongoing commitment to Peatland Action, we have to monitor the effects of the work that we did every year. In May we set up a fixed point photography survey and we revisited it a few weeks back. We decided to take photographs at 5 points which we marked and made a GPS record of. We also put in a few wooden posts to use as erosion markers. We drove these into the peat at the edge of the bog. If they were still there when we went back, then there had been little to no erosion in that area.
We were really keen to get up and see how things had progressed, especially after a full growing season. In some areas the changes were quite dramatic.
May 2015
September 2015
May 2015
September 2015
The above show how the vegetation has spread over quite a short period of time.
Where we used the jute mesh around the edges, it has really taken hold and prevented further erosion allowing re-colonisation of plants such as heather and bog cotton. We were also pleased to see that some of the sphagnum we scattered was starting to take.
Jute mesh with all sorts of plants popping through
And in some areas re-colonisation has been very vigorous!
In other areas the changes were not quite as obvious. As it has a tighter weave the sisal is harder for plants beneath to penetrate. However there were many areas where cotton grass and sphagnum were poking through.
Sisal with cotton grass
Sisal with sphagnum
Another observation was that already the materials are starting to breakdown. The jute is very fragile with it separating easily. The sisal will last longer but it too is starting to fray where it is lying in water.
It is still very early days so we will continue to monitor at Little Firthhope. One thing's for sure is we have certainly learned a lot from the experience so far!
Site Officer

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