Towards an assessment of the state of UK peatlands

The JNCC have recently completed an assessment of the state of UK peatlands. The report provides estimates of extent and condition of peatlands in each of the four UK countries. There is little consistent UK-wide information on peatlands (maps or statistics) as most of the research and conservation work has been conducted at a regional or country scale. Reconciling the various descriptions and classifications to provide a unified picture of the state of UK peatlands represents a significant challenge.

This review is divided broadly into two parts. The first part (section 2-5) addresses how we define, delineate and describe peatlands, and considers critically the sources of available information. This part also touches briefly on the likely impact of peatland management on the ecosystem services delivered by peatlands. The second part (section 6-10) provides a synopsis of the state of peatlands in the four countries.

The review also includes a glossary of terms and definition used in the UK to describe peatland soils and habitats types and conditions. There are still insufficient data and information to provide a definitive overview of the state of the UK’s peatland resource as a whole. This report identifies key gaps in current knowledge necessary to provide a fit-for-purpose assessment of peatlands across the UK.

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