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(Last up-date 13 October 2009)


EPA Climate change lectures:

Don’t MISS Hans Joosten talking about bogs!

Lecture 9:  For Peat’s Sake – Bogs and Climate Change - Tuesday 27th October 2009
Speaker: Hans Joosten, Head of the Mire and Palaeo Ecology Institute in University of Griefswald, Germany.

He is a member of the Belarusian delegation to the UNFCCC where he has advised on inclusion of peatlands in future actions to address climate change.

Date: Tuesday 27th October 2009,  6.30 -  8.30 p.m at the Mansion House, Dublin


Irish peatland society annual AGM and seminar:


Abbeyleix Bog Restoration and Conservation


The Abbeyleix Manor Hotel, Abbeyleix



Tuesday 20th October 2009

11.00 a.m. to 15.30 p.m.

All welcome! Click here for more information


NEW publication:

From the Irish Peatland Conservation Council:

Ireland’s Peatland Conservation Action Plan 2009 – Halting the loss of peatland biodiversity

A beautifully-illustrated book that shows you why bogs are good for you!

For a copy check www.ipcc.ie



Check www.ucd.ie/bogland/publications.html for new BOGLAND publications




publications in Irish Times, 24 January 2009




The title of his presentation was: ' Peat slope failures in Ireland and the assessment of peat stability' 


The BOGLAND Project  figured in the Irish Times weekly column 'Another life' by Michael Viney on June 7th 2008, in advance of the 13th International Peat Congress. Dr David Wilson's paper 'Death by a thousand cuts' got a special mention as he highlighted the ravage of small-scale peat extraction from local bogs which are legally protected and which drain our carbon store. 



Photos from the Peat Congress! 


A number of summer students have been appointed to complete tasks within BOGLAND workpackages: 

Paolo Mengoni, a graduate from the Engineering for Environmental and Territory in Università politecnica delle Marche (Ancona), will be working on WP 3.7: hydrology of peatlands

Declan Peelo, Taught M.Sc.(ag) in Environmental Resource Management will be working on WP 3.3.: biofuels on cutaway peatlands

Fionnuala Murphy, 2nd BE Biosystems Engineering, will be working on WP 3.2: effect of climate change



20-25th May 2008

It's NATIONAL BIODIVERSITY WEEK with programmes of free events at many locations including the Bog of Allen (IPCC) near Lullymore. There will be a special biodiversity show on 25th May and they would love all the bog-interested people to come along.  visit www.ipcc.ie

For those interested, there was an article published in Saturday Irish Times on 'Realising the true value of biodiversity in Ireland' in relation to the publication of the report 'The Economic and Social Aspects of Biodiversity: Benefits and Costs of Biodiversity in Ireland'. Dr Craig Bullock who also works on the BOGLAND project is one of the authors. The report is available for download from www.environ.ie


A new publication from a member of the BOGLAND team:  

Connolly, J., Roulet, N.T., Seaquist, J.W., Holden, N.M., Lafleur, P.M., Humphreys, E.R., Heumann, B.W. and Ward, S.M. (2008). Using Modis Derived Fpar with Ground Based Flux Tower Measurements to Derive the Light Use Efficiency for Two Canadian Peatlands. Biogeosciences Discussions, 5, 1765-94.Click here for pdf.


It is with great regret that we heard of the tragic death of Bob Hammond on February 7, while on holiday in Florida. He and his wife were involved in a road traffic incident. His wife has since recoverred. The Memorial Service for Bob Hammond is taking place at 3pm on Saturday,  19th April in St. David's Church (C of I), Main street, Naas. co kildare


Article in New Scientist 1 December 2007: Bog barons: Indonesia's carbon catastrophe

Download article here


The Bogland project featured on Duncan Stewart's popular environmental series: Ecoeye on 2nd January 2008!

Here are a few photos of the shooting...




The cooling tower at the Bellacorick Peat Power Station which was a land mark in North Mayo for nearly 50 years was demolished at 11 o'clock on October 14, 2007

Click here to view: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqralsoAGDE


Members of the Bogland project (UCD) are now officially members of the Irish Peat Society for the year 2007/2008. They will be entitled to receive the 'Peatlands International' magazine and to attend IPS organised events at membership rate (including the International Peat Congress in Tullamore next June 2008) 

(Please contact Florence Renou-Wilson for more information)








 to come



IPS Convention 2009 in Belfast

The IPS Convention 2009 that will be held in Belfast, UK on 24 - 26 April 2009.

The meetings will include a field excursion, a seminar/workshop on peatland restoration, a joint dinner and meetings of the IPS Executive Board, Scientific Advisory Board, IPS Commissions, the Round Table of IPS National Committees and the Annual Assembly of National Representatives.

For more information: click http://www.peatsociety.org/index.php?id=241





11 presentations and 2 posters from the BOGLAND project were presented at the IPC in Tullamore! 


Paper presentations:

1-Renou-Wilson, F.     A protocol for the future management of Irish peatlands: the BOGLAND project

2-Hannigan, E.  & Kelly-Quinn, M.   A preliminary investigation of the macroinvertebrate communities of open-water habitats in two contrasting peatlands  

3-Wisdom, R. & Bolger, T.     Studies of terrestrial invertebrate diversity in Irish peatlands           

4-Deering, L., Doohan, F. & Clipson, N. The effect of restoration on bacterial community structure in a montane blanket bog

5-Connolly, J. & Holden, N.   Updating maps of Peat soil extent in Ireland : a GIS rules-based mapping approach           

6- Wilson , D.  Death by a thousand cuts: small-scale peat extraction and the Irish peatland carbon store  

7- Farrell , C.A.           The biodiversity value and future management of degraded peatland habitats in Ireland     

8-Collier, M. Scott, M. and Feehan, J.            Social and community dimensions in cutaway peatland policy        

9-Bullock, C. Policy and changing value of peatlands

10-Boylan, N., Long, m. & Jennings, P. Peat slope failures in Ireland and the assessment of peat stability

11-Murphy, G., Collier, M. & Feehan, J. opinions of upland walkers on socio-cultural and environmental impacts on blanket bog habitats: cultural aspects of peat and peatlands


Poster presentation

12-Lynch, G. Walsh, W., Schulte, R. & Moles, R. Association between activity and the micro-erosion status of hill peat soils under three stocking densities

13-Bullock, C., Collier, M. and Convery, F. Peatland after-use – issues in valuation  

In addition, Shane Regan presented at the BOGLAND Steering Committee meeting: Hydrological sustainability of peatlands




Monday 26th 2008


The Charles Parsons Initiative on Energy and Sustainable Environment will be launched on the 26th of May at the University of Limerick, the launch will be addressed by Minister Eamon Ryan. Please click here for programme details



"Achieving Targets - Maximising Benefits" - Conference on the Sustainability of Biomass in the Context of the Renewable Energy Targets in the Irish Energy White Paper

Date: Friday, 9th May, 2008 (9am to 4pm)

Venue: Sustainable Energy Ireland, Glasnevin, Dublin Organised by Sustainable Energy Ireland, International Energy Agency Bioenergy Task 29 and Tipperary Institute

The Energy White Paper published in 2007 set ambitious targets for the contribution of biomass to renewable energy. These targets are seen as challenging to achieve and there are sustainability issues for both indigenous and imported bioenergy resources. This conference will investigate ways in which these targets can be achieved while maximising benefits and ensuring a commitment to local, national and international sustainability. The conference programme can be viewed at http://www.task29.net/index.php?id=39

There is no charge for the event, but prior registration is required. A registration form can be obtained by contacting Mr. Clifford Guest at cguest@tippinst.ie.



‘Bringing the Bogs back to LIFE’ – End of Project Conference 8th & 9th May, 2008


Restoring Raised Bog in Ireland - LIFE04 NAT/IE/000121


A 2 day International  Conference has been organised by the Project Team to mark the end of the project and to publicise its results.  This conference will be held on the 8th & 9th May, 2008 based at the Landmark Hotel, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim.

The project has been managed by Coillte Teoranta and focused on the restoration of 14 raised bog sites within the EU Natura 2000 network of protected sites. It is the largest raised bog restoration project ever undertaken in Ireland.

Delegates from across Europe are invited to attend the Conference.  Day 1 will consist of presentations by the Project team and other experts in the field.   Day 2 will be spent visiting project sites in the vicinity of Carrick-on.Shannon.


For further information and for details of how to register for this conference, please click on the link to the project website www.raisedbogrestoration.ie



University of Santiago de Compostela and International Mire Conservarion Group



There will be two BOGLAND presentations at the IMCG Symposium on Wind Farms on Peatland in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, 27–30 April 2008

Peatland vulnerability to energy-related development policy in Ireland: the case of wind farms

  Dr Florence Renou-Wilson

School of Biology and environmental Science, Agriculture and Food Science Centre, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland . Florence.Renou@ucd.ie

  Ireland enjoys a wet and windy climate, ideally suited for both peatlands and windfarms. Around 17% of the country is covered by peatland with some parts having a much higher percentage, e.g. 62% of West Donegal . These western areas are also the most exposed to the strong Atlantic winds. Irish peatlands have been utilised since prehistoric times. In the course of history, peatlands have shaped parts of Ireland very strongly, influencing rural economy and culture, settlement distribution and communications. On the other hand peatlands are themselves deeply humanised landscapes which have evolved, indeed sometimes originated, in close association with land use systems (e.g. western blanket bogs).

There are currently 67 windfarms in Ireland, the majority of which are located on upland peatland areas (the oldest one being located on an industrial cutaway blanket bog). The national and local (county level) policy in relation to windfarms is to promote renewable energy while having regards to the statutory obligation to ensure proper planning and sustainable development. Errors from past developments and on-going monitoring have helped adapting guidelines for planning authorities and Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs).

The full implications for peatlands of energy-related policy for climate change mitigation are still far from being understood. As part of the Bogland project, we have started to investigate the impacts on peatlands of the use of renewable energy resources such as wind, and other indigenous sources of energy which can have far more negative effects (e.g. peat burning for fuel, biomass on cutaway peatlands and peatland destruction for gas transport).


Peat slope failures and the assessment of peat stability  

Noel Boylan1, Dr. Michael Long2 & Dr. Paul Jennings3

1PhD Student, Geotechnical Engineering, School of Architecture , Landscape and Civil Engineering, University College Dublin , Dublin 2, Ireland .

2Senior Lecturer, Geotechnical Engineering, School of Architecture , Landscape and Civil Engineering, University College Dublin , Dublin 2, Ireland . Email: mike.long@ucd.ie

3Consultant, Applied Ground Engineering Consultants Ltd., The Grainstore, Singletons Lane, Bagenalstown, Co. Carlow , Ireland .


Peat failures have occurred in Ireland as far back as the Early Bronze Age (4200 BP) with recent failures in the autumn of 2003 at Pollatomish, County Mayo and Derrybrien, County Galway focussing attention on such events. There are over 70 reported events of peat failures in Ireland , and more than likely a significant number of unreported events. The predicted changes in climate, particularly increases in extreme rainfall events will likely increase the occurrence of this geohazard. Planning guidelines (DOEHLG, 2006) for wind farm development in Ireland require an assessment of peat stability to take place.

 As part of the BOGLAND project at University College Dublin, research was undertaken into the geotechnical aspects of peat slope failures. This paper discusses the occurrence of peat failures in Ireland and the causal factors involved. A review of historical failures shows that there is a relationship between run out distance and failure volume and that the majority of the failures are clustered at slope angles between 4º and 8º. The assessment of peat stability and methods to determine peat strength are discussed. Recent research to develop methods to assess strength parameters appropriate for stability assessment are outlined as well as the future research needs of this area.



Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government (2006) Wind Energy Development Guidelines



Feasta soil carbon discussion sessions


Rewarding the holding of carbon in soils and biomass

Date: Thursday 17th April

Accordingly, Feasta is holding discussions in Dublin on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning next week (April 17th and 18th) to see if such a reward system can be devised. This is an enormously ambitious task because many groups have been working in the area for at least a decade without great success. Among the participants will be John Doyle, Sustainability Adviser, Information Society DG, European Commission, David Wasdell, Director of the Meridian Programme, an expert in the dynamics of climate change, Peter Read, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Applied and International Economics at Massey University in New Zealand, and Professor Bruce Osborne of University College Dublin.

The discussions will be held at the Feasta office, 14, St. Stephen's Green, Dublin 2. Session 1;  2pm to 5pm, Thursday April 17th

Session 2;  9.30am to 12.30pm, Friday, April 18th




Stakeholder Event

Partnership project to protect and enhance peat soils in England & Wales : Phase 1

April 16th 2008: Warwick Conference Centre

Further details of the venue can be found at: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/conferences/.



 Wednesday 12th and Thursday 13th March 2008 in Tullamore Court Hotel. 

Ger Lynch (WP 3.6) will be presenting some early results from his Master's study on the 

Physical impact of sheep grazing on blanket peat and peaty soils in the western hill and mountain landscape of Ireland
Gerard Lynch*(1), Micheal Walsh(2), Rogier Schulte(3) and Richard Moles(4)
(1)Teagasc Research Centre, Athenry, Co, Galway <gerlynch2@gmail .com>
(2)Teagasc Research Centre, Athenry, Co, Galway. <michael.walsh@teagasc.ie>
(3)Teagasc Research Centre, Johnstown Castle, Wexford. <rogier.schulte@teagasc.ie>
(4)Prof. R. Moles, CES Department, University of Limerick, Castletroy, Co. Limerick.<richard.moles@ul.ie>



Geological Society

Engineering Group of the Geological Society presents:

Reinforced water- engineering and environmental considerations in construction over peat

Venue: British Geological Survey, Murchison House, Edinburgh

11 March 2008

Noel Boylan (WP 3.4) will speak at this conference on 'Peat Slope Failures in Ireland & Stability Assessment'




 is being hosted by Dundalk Institute of Technology (DKIT) on Friday 1st  to Sunday 3rd February 2008.


Registration is now availab le on www.environ2008.ie


Two BOGLAND members from the 'Biodiversity' subproject will present their research at the Environ2008 conference 

Edel Hannigan is currently doing a PhD on aquatic invertebrates in Irish peatlands and is based with the freshwater Ecology and Research Group, School of Biology and Environmental Science, Science Centre West, University College Dublin , Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland .


A preliminary investigation of the hydrochemistry and macroinvertebrate communities of open-water habitats in two contrasting peatland sites.

Hannigan, E. and Kelly-Quinn, M.

The present study is part of a national project developing a protocol for sustainable peatland management (www.ucd.ie/bogland). The hydrochemical and biological characteristics of open-water habitats in Irish peatlands are being examined. This paper will present preliminary analysis for two study sites, Scragh bog (Co. Westmeath) and Owenirragh bog (Co. Mayo), using samples collected during spring 2006. Scragh bog is a fen located in the Irish Midlands (average precipitation of 934 mm) and Owenirragh is an Atlantic blanket bog on the western seaboard (average precipitation of 1400 mm). The hydrochemical parameters measured were pH, alkalinity, conductivity, nutrients (nitrate, phosphate and ammonia), total organic carbon and the major cations and anions. The macroinvertebrate samples were taken using both sweep netting and activity traps. The hydrochemical results showed distinct differences between the two sites. Overall, Scragh bog is more minerotrophic than Owenirragh with higher pH, alkalinity, calcium and magnesium concentrations. However, Owenirragh has elevated levels of sodium, chloride and sulphate which indicate a sea spray influence. These differences are also reflected in the macroinvertebrate communities. Scragh bog hosts a higher diversity and abundance of macroinvertebrate taxa.


Rachel Wisdom is currently doing a PhD on terrestrial  invertebrates in Irish peatlands and is based in the School of Biology and Environmental Science, Science Centre West, University College Dublin , Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland .



Rachel Wisdom* and Thomas Bolger

Many terrestrial invertebrate species are known to be exclusively found in peatlands but few studies have aimed to specifically compare their diversity across a range of peatlands types. This study is designed to improve our knowledge of the invertebrates found in Irish peatlands by comparing raised bog, montane blanket bog, Atlantic lowland blanket bog and fens. Particular attention is being paid to taxa which are known to have significant functional roles in these ecosystems and the focus is on mites (Acarina), beetles (Coleoptera) especially Carabidae, spiders (Arachnida) and pot worms (Enchytraidae). Preliminary results have shown significant differences between fens and the other three peatland types. The diversity of mites has proven to be high but those of the other groups is less than expected in relatively intact systems. Disturbance not only changes the species composition of some of these groups but also increases significantly the diversity. It is anticipated that the data gathered from sampling these habitats will identify habitat specialists and species that are possible indicators of intact and disturbed peatlands.


EPA Environmental Research Conference

February 6th and 7th 2008

The Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, Dublin

Dr Florence Renou-Wilson will be talking at the EPA Research conference on the first day (February 6th) in the 'Land use' session. 

The title of her presentation is ' Peatlands: Here today, Gone tomorrow?' 


Prof. Thomas Bolger will also present in the afternoon session ' Biodiversity of peatlands'. 

For more information: http://www.epa.ie/news/events/research/name,23574,en.html






One Day Symposium on Earth Observation Research in Ireland

14TH November 2007  

Hosted by the Spatial Analysis Unit,

Teagasc Research & Development Centre, Malahide Road , Kinsealy, Dublin 17

Dr John Connolly (UCD, Bogland project) will be giving a talk on 'Using satellite and flux tower data to derive the light use efficiency for two Canadian peatlands'

and Dr Ned Dwyer (UCC) will be giving a talk on 'Can satellites see bog breather'.

For more information http://www.tnet.teagasc.ie/rerc/earthobservation.htm


Lectures on Climate Change

20th and 27th November 2007

The Environmental Protection Agency is hosting a series of lectures on climate change over the coming six months. The seven-part series will explore key aspects of climate change ranging from predictions and impacts, to its economic and political consequences. 


Topic 1: The Science of Climate Change - Facing the facts

Speaker: Dr Martin Manning, University Corporation for Atmospheric  Research, USA, Director of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group 1 Support Unit and lead author of the IPCC 4th Assessment Report 2007.

Date: Tuesday, 20th November, 2007


Topic 2: Time for action? Options to address climate change

Speaker: Dr Bert Metz, Environmental Assessment Agency, the Netherlands and Co-chair Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group 3.

Date Tuesday, 27th November, 2007


Attendance is free, but advance booking is essential.

Bookings and enquiries to:

Clara Clark Tel: 01-2898533 Email: info@claraclark.ie

Information on the lecture series is available from the Environmental Protection Agency website on www.epa.ie/news/events and on www.claraclark.ie/climatechangelectures




3rd Steering Committee  and Field Meeting 

The 3rd Steering Committee meeting of the Bogland project took place on 5-7 September 2007 in Roscommon and Mayo.

Click here for photos!


Irish National Committee of the International Peat Society

Seminar on climate change and peatlands

 Mullingar Park Hotel

Tuesday 16th October 2007

11.00 a.m. to 15.30 p.m.

The Seminar will cover the theme of climate change and peatlands. The invited speakers are as follows:

Dr John Reilly, Bord na Móna  Peat and industry: future scenarios

UCC CELTICFLUX group         Measurement and Modelling of GHG Fluxes from Grasslands, Forests and Peatlands in Ireland

Dr David Wilson, UCD             Overview of the findings of the IPS working group on Climate change

Dr Colman O’Críodáin              Climate change and biodiversity


Irish Section of IEEM Annual Conference, 

Red Cow Hotel, Dublin

Wednesday 15th October 2007



The Irish section of IEEM are holding their annual conference in Dublin on 15th October next, on the theme of Irish Biodiversity - Countdown to 2010. Details of the programme and booking form can be found on http://www.ieem.org.uk/Conferences.htm. The closing date for early registration is this Friday, 5th October and you are advised to book soon to secure a place.



Colloque international - Tourbe et tourbières 2007

International Conference on Peat in horticulture and the rehabilitation of mires after peat exploitation

8th - 11th October, 2007

Lamoura, Jura, France

Please choose this link to view more details and register:  http://www.pole-tourbieres.org/docs/programme_colloque-lamoura2007.pdf



"Bringing the Bogs back to LIFE”

LIFE02 NAT/IRL/8490 “Restoring active blanket bog in Ireland”

End of Project Conference

4th & 5th October, 2007

Castlecourt & Westport Plaza Hotel, Westport, Co. Mayo.

Please choose this link to view more details and register: http://www.irishbogrestorationproject.ie/conference_information.html


Bogland Seminars

A series of seminars has been organised during this summer ahead of the Bogland field trip 6-7 September 2007 when members of the Steering Committee will join the team through the bogs of Mayo and Sligo. The seminars  will be held under each sub-project: 

Sub-project 2: Peatland biodiversity; 28 August 2007; Venue: UCD Ag and Food Board Room, Belfield, Dublin; Click here for details

Sub-project 3: The peatland resource; 28 June 2007: Venue: Radisson Hotel, Athlone; Click here for details

Sub-project 4: Cultural, socio-economic and policy issues, 16 July 200; Venue: GPEP conference room, Richview, Dublin




EUGEO First International Conference on the Geography of Europe


For details see: http://www.eugeo2007.org/

Stakeholder attitudes towards industrially harvested peatland landscapes in Ireland

Author: Marcus Collier, John Feehan and Mark Scott

With the modern move towards governance, and international commitments to landscape and biodiversity conservation, Irish stakeholders have an increasing importance in landscape change issues; especially given that most of the island consists of ancient as well as modern cultural landscapes. As important as this is to existing and threatened habitats, when it comes to damaged and degraded habitats there are few working examples of stakeholder collaboration, planning or management (Folke et al., 2005), especially in peatland areas. Over the millennia many of Irelands' peatlands have been harvested, first by hand and more recently on an industrial scale. This has caused much habitat loss and/or degradation. Today, as they approach the end of their productive life, there is concern over what will become of cutaway peatland areas and how they may be managed for best social gain. Unfortunately, there are no long-term policies on, and little stakeholder involvement in, afteruse planning or management. Spontaneous and managed regeneration has occurred in some areas and it is now known that that Irish cutaway peatlands have a high ecological potential; that is, a potential for creating new, ecologically heterogeneous landscapes in post-industrial areas - the 'new nature' option (Feehan, 2004). But what of the communities that live within peatland areas and their attitudes to the changing landscape? This presentation will focus on stakeholder relationships to the Irish peatland landscape. It will be shown that, by utilising a multiple-methodology assessment procedure, local stakeholders reveal their opinions on the current landscape and post-industrial, new nature and that they actively welcome it especially when it is perceived as promoting health and well being. The potential transformation of the Irish rural landscape will be explained in relation to social and ecological processes.

Feehan, J. (2004) A Long-Lived Wilderness: the future of the north midlands peatland network (Dublin, Department of Environmental Resource Management, UCD).
Folke, C., Hahn, T., Olsson, P. & Norberg, J. (2005) Adaptive governance of Social-Ecological systems, Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 30, pp. 441-473.



ESA/SER Joint Meeting in San Jose, California.

Ecological Restoration in a Changing World (SER/ESA joint meeting) in San Jose, 5-10 August 2007. How do we set goals for ecological restoration, and how can we assess its success? Insights from paleoecology, long-term studies, and ecological modeling all show ecological systems to be fundamentally dynamic, with trajectories of change that may not be easily predictable. Even without considering human effects on ecosystems, there is no simply definable, baseline; the ?natural state' is a moving target. The picture is complicated further by the persistent and increasing effects of anthropogenic climate change and the long history of human land-use. New scientific insights call for more sophisticated consideration of the goals and standards of restoration and, perhaps, of conservation of natural systems generally. What ecosystem attributes are to be restored, conserved, or preserved? How should these priorities be informed by ecological research? How can we assess the effectiveness of restoration? 

Two members of the BOGLAND team will present their work:  


Are all ecosystem functions equal or are some more equal than others? Results from the restoration of a montane blanket bog in Ireland 

Dr David Wilson, Louise Deering, Dr Nicholas Clipson and Dr Fiona Doohan


Blanket bogs are globally important peatland ecosystems in terms of their distribution, unique flora and fauna and carbon (C) storage function. Additionally, they are considered as priority habitats under Annex 1 of the European Union Habitats Directive. Montane blanket bogs (found at altitudes greater than 150 m above sea level) are the most widespread peatland type in Ireland but have been subject to considerable anthropogenic disturbance through small scale peat harvesting (mechanical or hand cutting), which has resulted in a considerable reduction in the area of intact blanket bog in the country. Harvesting may result in severe alterations of the ecological functions performed by the intact bog. For example, disruption of the hydrological regime by drainage may impact on both the microbial and vegetation composition within the bog, which in turn may affect biogeochemical cycling and result in the possible loss of the C sink function.

Restoration of the functions characteristic of the intact ecosystem may prove to be a considerable challenge and assessing its success or failure may prove highly subjective. Is it desirable to restore all functions? If this is not achievable, which functions are more critical and at what point do we consider that the restoration process has been successful? In this study, we assessed the effects of restoration (blocking of drainage ditches / natural regeneration) on a range of ecological functions on a montane blanket bog in Ireland. Biogeochemical cycling (carbon dioxide and methane), water table levels, vegetation composition and microbial communities were sampled over a 12-month period in both intact and restored parts of the bog. The results from the study will present an opportunity to assess how restoration has affected the ecological functioning of the bog.


'The future of Irish peatlands: a delicate exercise in balancing scientific knowledge and management options'.  

Dr Florence Renou-Wilson 


  Peatlands once covered 16% of the land surface in Ireland but relatively few intact peatlands remain as most have been subject to human activity since early historic times. Irish peatlands are a unique natural resource that have been utilized in a variety of ways: domestic and industrial peat harvesting, agriculture, forestry, military training, recreation and only on a minor scale: conservation and restoration. The associated management practices can have significant effects on the vegetation, terrestrial and aquatic invertebrate population, microbial population but also the physical and chemical properties of the peat as well as the hydrological balance and carbon gas exchange. The BOGLAND project is a multi-disciplinary, nation-wide research project which aims to assess these effects and the general current condition, including level of degradation, of Irish peatlands and to monitor a range of restoration options in order to provide management strategies for the future of Irish peatlands. This has proven to be a delicate exercise as there is a need to increase the knowledge of current peatland environments before defining specific, desired objectives. This means increasing our understanding of reference conditions against which to assess peatland status and management practices. How do we draw management options when the reference conditions themselves vary from one peatland to another? The difficulties of keeping fundamental research of peatland in pace with demands for management programme, including conservation and restoration are presented.



ECO-Summit Beijin, China

Marcus Collier presented at the ecological sustainability (EcoSummit) in Beijing , China in May 2007



Authors & affiliations:
Collier1,2,, M.J., Feehan1, J. and Scott2, M.
1 School of Biological & Environmental Sciences,
University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4
2 School of Geography, Planning & Environmental Policy,
University College Dublin, Richview, Clonskeagh, Dublin 14

Over the last 200 years many of Irelands peatlands have been harvested, first by hand and then on an industrial scale. This has caused much habitat loss and/or degradation. Today, as they approach the end of their productive life, there is concern over what the cutaway peatland areas will be used for and how they will be managed. There are no long-term policies on, and little stakeholder involvement in, afteruse planning or management. Spontaneous and managed regeneration has occurred in some areas and it is now known that that Irish cutaway peatlands have a high ecological potential. But what of the communities that live within peatland areas? This presentation will describe attempts to determine stakeholder opinions using multiple research methodologies, including one devised for the task, that reveal the desire for a biodiversity afteruse option.

This study utilises a multiple methodology approach that includes:
" interdisciplinary literature synthesis to identify:
o the ecological variables necessary to maximise ecological potential
o the social constructs with which to integrate these variables;
" qualitative (semi-structured) research to identify sociological parameters using:
o open-ended interviews with professional and community stakeholders
o ethnographic, action-research in peatland areas
o targeted and random focus groups;
" quantative (questionnaire) data to gather information of attitudes to peatlands using:
o a nationwide survey utilising choice experiments
o boosted regional surveys to accompany the nationwide survey
o self-directed questionnaires.

Though research is ongoing, the qualitative sections of this research have been completed and analysed. Early data show that stakeholder concern is ubiquitous and there is universal opinion that cutaway peatlands have highest value if utilised for amenity and biodiversity conservation. Landscape planning issues are also of concern, specifically overdevelopment of rural areas and damage to water supplies. There is a high willingness to accept non-market usage of harvested peatlands.

The importance of utilising new and combined methodological approaches in interdisciplinary research is illustrated in this study. In contrast to current social-ecological studies, which concentrate on existing habitats and ecosystems, this study examines extremely damaged habitats with no practical possibility of complete restoration. The data show that harvested peatlands may be viewed as 'areas of social-ecological potential' though no specific habitat is preferred. This common desire for ecological afteruse of peatlands may be crucial when the next phase, collaborative management, is undertaken and when long-term afteruse policies are being decided upon.




18th European Young Geotechnical Engineers Conference 2007, Ancona, Italy, 17 - 20 June 2007

Noel Boylan, PhD student with Dr Mike Long from the School of Architecture Landscape and Civil Engineering, UCD is currently studying slope stability and slippage in peatlands as part of the BOGLAND work package 3.4. 

Noel gave presentation at the above conference entitled: The shear strength of peat and its role in landslide events 


This paper looks at the issue of landslides in peat and its shear strength properties. The occurrence of peat failures in Ireland and the apparent trigger factors are discussed. Fundamental differences between peat and mineral soils are identified which question the applicability of traditional soil mechanics strength models. To begin a study on the shear strength properties of peat - a new direct simple shear apparatus (DSS) with the facility to consolidate samples at low stresses and monitor the deformation during shearing is introduced. This apparatus uses innovation PIV techniques to track the actual strains within the sample to observe how the material deforms and assists in the interpretation of failure.



International Perspectives on Peatland Degradation and Restoration: From Science to Practice

Bringing scientists and practitioners together to discuss the restoration of naturally and anthropogenically disturbed mires, we aim to compare the international experience of peat mine restoration with UK work on eroded peatlands.


International Perspectives on Spatial Analysis and Catchment Modeling

Showcasing the State of the Science and exploring future directions, including novel data sources and modes of analysis.

June 25th (catchments) and June 26th (peatlands), Manchester University

Dr Florence Renou-Wilson and Marcus Collier will attended this conference where invited speakers included Dr Jonathan Price (University of Waterloo), Dr Eevastiina Tuittila (University of Helsinki), Dr Fred Worrall (University of Durham) and Dr Joe Holden (University of Leeds). http://www.sed.manchester.ac.uk/geography/research/eprg/



ESAI Connemara Walk - 25 May 2007

The ESAI hosted a field trip in Connemara on Friday May 25th. The trip incorporated a guided walk through Teagasc's farm in Leenaun and Michael Walsh from Teagasc, Bryony Williams (PhD student) and Ger Lynch (Master's student) presented their work which is part of BOGLAND work package 3.6 on the causes and impacts of preferential sheep grazing in upland and peatland habitats. The walk continued in the Connemara National Park where Ger O'Donnell guided us.

Clockwise: Michael Walsh leads the ESAI group through the Teagasc Leenaun Farm. Ger Lynch explains his study of physical and ecological impact of preferential sheep grazing at three sites representing different grazing intensity. Ger presents a number of field methods to quantify micro-erosion: collection of sediment in tray at a sheep-rest area and a home-made pin-profiler for measurements of micro-changes in peat height



Carbon in Peatlands:
State-of-the-Art and Future Research

15-18 April 2007
Wageningen, the Netherlands

More at: http://www.peatnet.siu.edu/CC07MainPage.html



Dr John Connolly who works on the BOGLAND project, sub-project 3: 'mapping of peatlands', was one of the 36 abstracts chosen out of 150 for the Carbon in peatlands conference (selection based on quality, novelty and geographic representation of research sites). This work was based on part of his PhD work when he was staying at McGill University, Montreal, Canada and collaborating with Prof. Nigel Roulet.  He gave a presentation in front of 170 delegates.  

                                    Dr John Connolly presents his work based on his PhD work with Prof Nigel Roulet                            


Northern peatlands contain approximately one third of global soil carbon. Climate simulations have indicated that higher latitudes may experience warming and changes in available moisture. Many peatlands are located in remote boreal and sub arctic climatic zones, therefore developing methods that utilise remotely sensed data to infer changes in ecosystem productivity and net carbon exchange would be very useful. While there has been considerable effort to develop these types of tools for forests and croplands, peatlands have received little attention. In this paper we used satellite data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS); fraction of Photosynthetically Active Radiation Absorbed (fPAR), in conjunction with Net Ecosystem Exchange (NEE), Ecosystem Respiration (ER) and Incident Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR) from tower eddy covariance and meteorological measurements, to characterise the Light Use Efficiency (e) variability for two contrasting Canadian peatlands. Four years of data from the Mer Bleue bog and one and a half years of data from the Western Peatland were examined. The maximum ε value for each of the four years (2000 to 2003) at the Mer Bleue bog ranged from 0.58 g C MJ-1 to 0.78 g C MJ-1 and at the Western Peatland was 0.91g C MJ-1 in 2004. The average growing season ε was 0.35 g C MJ-1 for the Mer Bleue bog (over four years) and was 0.57 g C MJ-1 for the Western Peatland was in 2004. The average snow free period ε for the Mer Bleue bog over the four year period was 0.27 g C MJ-1 and for the Western Peatland in 2004 was 0.39 g C MJ-1.



12th Sustainable Living Festival
'Powering Down Our Communities'
17th to 22nd April 2007

Dublin, Ireland

Faced with Climate Change and Peak Oil, it’s time for us all to act creatively, to change our lifestyles, to re-engage with our communities, to save energy, or more simply... Power Down

Dr Craig Bullock who works on the BOGLAND project, sub-project 4: Socio-economics and policy aspects of peatland was asked by Sustainable Tourism Ireland to give a presentation at the 12th Sustainable Living Festival on the 17th April in the Cultivate, Living and Learning Centre, Temple Bar, Dublin. His talk will concentrate on the creation of a Wetlands Park. For more information see: http://www.sustainable.ie/convergence/index.htm


The UCD BOGLAND Project is a significant research project being undertaken on behalf of the EPA. The objective of the project is to identify options for the sustainable management of Ireland's peatlands, i.e. raised bogs, blanket bogs and fens. Ireland's peatlands are a familiar feature our own cultural landscape and, as such, a feature that attracts tourists to Ireland. Unfortuantely, they are under serious threat from peat harvesting (both collection and drainage), commercial forestry and, potentially, from climate change. A small number, such as that at Lough Boora, are being actively protected and are a valuable amenity and tourist resource to local communities.

One element of the BOGLAND Project is to investigate the potential for cut-away peatlands, namely those peatlands that are at the end of their working life, in particular the large-scale workings managed by Bord na Mona. Over the next 20 years, a substantial area of cut-away peatland will emerge, particularly in the Midlands counties.

The cut-away area will be of very limited value for either agriculture or forestry. One option is for these peatlands to be rehabilitated. Partial restoration is possible in some locations, albeit as some expense.

Another option is for the area to become flooded and for native trees to regenerate on drier areas. Given the scale of the potential area available in the vicinity of Longford, there is an opportunity to create a National Wetlands Park. Such a possibility has already been discussed by the Oireachtas.

A National Wetlands Park could be a significant amenity and tourism resource for Ireland. At present, the Burren is the only example we have of a distinct natural large-scale landscape. It is also an important tourist resource.

A Wetlands Park could be devloped as an example of sustainable tourism that would benefit the regional economy. It could function as a reserve for wildlife and a landscape for recreation. Other possible uses could include biofuels (wood energy), wind energy (wind turbines) and active sports/recreation such as water sports or off-road driving. Naturally, these latter activities do present challenges for sustainability, but these are not insurmountable.

As part of the BOGLAND Project, UCD is currently undertaking a public survey to collect information on how much people would value a National Wetlands Park and what activities it should support. The images below present two possible options.



ENVIRON 2007: Institute of Technology CARLOW

26th – 28th January 2007


Four BOGLAND members presented their research at the Environ2007 conference 

From Workpackage 3.6: Sheep grazing on upland peats

Physical and ecological impacts of preferential grazing areas in western hill and mountain peatland

Gerard Lynch*(1), Micheal Walsh(2), Rogier Schulte(3) and Richard Moles(4)

(1)Teagasc Research Centre, Athenry, Co, Galway <gerlynch2@gmail .com>

(2)Teagasc Research Centre, Athenry, Co, Galway . <michael.walsh@teagasc.ie>

(3)Teagasc Research Centre, Johnstown Castle , Wexford. <rogier.schulte@teagasc.ie>

(4)Prof. R. Moles, CES Department, University of Limerick, Castletroy, Co. Limerick. <richard.moles@ul.ie>

The project is part of an overall programme to achieve sustainable agri- environmental management of hill and mountain peat land. Peat soils occupy a very high proportion of the western hill/mountain landscape in Ireland . They are especially vulnerable to erosion under inappropriate land use. Grazing systems may impact not only on the density and composition of the vegetation cover but also on a range of micro-topographic features.

The objective of this study is to quantify the physical impact of hill sheep at low, medium and high levels of grazing by quantifying changes in micro soil erosion, plant cover and soil nutrient content over time.

Sites representing three grazing intensities (low, medium, high) were selected in the Connemara region of Galway and Mayo based on altitude and physiography.  Within each site four areas associated with sheep activity namely high and low densities of occupation, sheep ‘camps’ and movement corridors were chosen.  These were identified largely by random selection from existing databases for the medium level of grazing and by field examination of physiographic transects in the low and high levels of grazing.

Methods to measure changes in micro-erosion and deformation of soil surface include rainfall detachment trays (constructed), Gerlough troughs, splash cups, micro-topographic pin profilers (designed) and reference marker pins. All the sites have been sampled for soil fertility analysis.

Results of the micro-soil erosion, plant cover and soil nutrient analysis will be correlated with relevant farm management systems details and local weather data to identify sustainable agri-environmental management strategies of hill and mountain peat land.


 To see Ger Lynch's poster click here


Also from Workpackage 3.6: Sheep grazing on upland peats

What are the habitat preferences of Scottish Blackface hill sheep and the implications for blanket bog conservation?

 Bryony Williams*(1), Michael Walsh (2) & Mike Gormally(3)

(1-2) Teagasc Research Centre, Athenry, Co. Galway .

(1) bryony.williams@nuigalway.ie  (2) michael.walsh@teagasc.ie

(3) Applied Ecology Unit, Centre for Environmental Science, National University of Ireland , Galway, University Road , Galway . mike.gormally@nuigalway.ie 


Blanket bog has been identified as a priority habitat for conservation under Annex I of the EU Habitats Directive.  This habitat occurs in the mountainous regions of western Ireland where sheep production is the most widespread agricultural land use and Scottish Blackface the dominant breed.  Whilst grazers are an important management tool in ecological conservation, inappropriate grazing management can cause plant community changes, damage to soil structure and soil erosion.  Therefore a better understanding of sheep behaviour in an area supporting blanket bog is required for informed decisions about conservation policies, in addition to enabling farmers to utilise the hill resource more sustainably for agricultural production.

The 250ha Teagasc Hill Sheep Farm on Ben Gorm in Co. Mayo forms the study site for this project.  Fieldwork was carried out during nine 5-week seasonal sampling periods between February 2004 and April 2006.  Data collected from GPS tracking collars, flock observations and focal area sheep observations provide information on sheep ranging behaviour.  Habitats occurring on the study site were classified using ‘A Guide to Habitats in Ireland ’ (The Heritage Council, 2000) mapped with the aid of aerial photographs and digitised using ArcGIS.  Ewe ranges and core areas, and habitat availability and use were analysed using Ranges7.  Compositional analyses of habitat preferences were carried out using Compos Analysis v.6.2+.   

Spatial distribution of hill sheep was uneven from preferred areas with high occupation to unoccupied areas.  From ten available habitat types, acid grassland was most preferred, blanket bog of low preference and cutover bog most avoided.  Management prescriptions to redistribute grazing pressure, such as seasonal grazing, regular shepherding, temporary fencing or the strategic use of supplementary feed blocks, are required to achieve long-term conservation and agricultural objectives.


From Workpackage 2.6: Aquatic biodiversity: 

*Edel Hannigan and Kelly-Quinn, M.

Hydrochemical characteristics of open-water habitats in Irish Peatlands

Limnology Unit, School of Biology and Environmental Sciences, University College Dublin , Belfield, Dublin 4.


The present study is part of a national project developing a protocol for sustainable peatland management.  We are examining the hydrochemical and biological characteristics of open-water habitats in Irish peatlands.  This paper will present the chemical characteristics of these waterbodies.  In Ireland peatlands are normally divided into three categories; blanket bogs, raised bogs and fens.  Blanket bogs can be further divided into lowland and mountain blanket bog.  Both blanket bogs and raised bogs are considered to be ombrotrophic.  Ombrotrophic bogs generally have a low pH, making them quite acidic, and a poor nutrient supply as they rely on rainfall and precipitation to obtain nutrients.  Fens are minerotrophic as they are fed mainly by groundwater, resulting in a plentiful supply of mineral-rich water.  Generally they have a near neutral pH.  In the present study eight study sites were chosen to represent all categories of peatland and included two raised bogs, two fens, two Atlantic blanket bogs and two mountain blanket bogs.  The parameters measured were: pH, alkalinity, conductivity, nutrients (nitrate, phosphate and ammonia), cations and anions.  The total organic carbon was also measured.  The hydrochemical results obtained from each site were used to highlight any variations that may be present between the water bodies found within each site and also any variations that occur between the different categories of peatland.  The results may enable a more accurate classification of aquatic habitats in peatlands in Ireland .



From Workpackage 3.3 Bioenergy and peatlands

Enda Kennedy and Kevin Mcdonnell




Energy from renewable sources has started to gain increased momentum due to three main problems arising from non-renewable (fossil) fuels. Firstly the burning of fossil fuels causes Green House Gas (GHG) emissions. The second factor is the high levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) that is emitted due to the combustion of such fuels and thirdly, our huge dependence on imported fossil fuels. At present Ireland imports 90% of its total energy required while the EU-25 imports 48%. Peatlands in Ireland cover approximately 1.34 million hectares and are extensively utilised for agriculture, forestry and peat production. 80,000 hectares of peatlands are currently being developed by Bord na Móna for peat extraction (electricity, peat briquettes and horticultural peat) and will gradually come out of production over the next 20 to 30 years. It is expected that circa 50,000 ha of cutaway peatlands could become available for afforestation and for energy crop production. The production of energy crops such as willow, miscanthus and reed canary grass on cutaway peatlands would aid in the generation of heat and electricity. It would also provide a sustainable means to providing fuel for power stations and domestic homes, thus improving the environmental impact on the atmosphere and reducing our dependency on imports. The objective of this research is to develop a realistic model to; determine the energy inputs v’s energy yield into growing such crops on cutaway peatlands, the cutaway peatland area (ha) around peat fuelled power stations suitable for biomass production and the economics of establishing, growing, harvesting and transportation of such crops to there final destination. So far from research carried out on all three crops, miscanthus, reed canary grass and willow, energy ratios were, 20, 13 and 16 respectively. The cutaway peatland area (ha) from a 50 km radius around West Offaly, Lough Ree and Edenderry power plants, were, 15 500 ha, 14 700 ha and 10 800 ha respectively. Research work is ongoing into the economics of growing each crop, one factor that may increase the establishment cost is the deep ploughing of the sites, but this maybe balanced by the transport of the crops due an existing rail infrastructure that would have been constructed for milled peat transportation. From initial results, it can be seen that energy crops grown on cutaway peatlands yield positive results, and that there is available land around power stations for the growth of such crops. Further research into the practicality of these crops on cutaway peatlands is required.





Irish Peatland Society Seminar

10 October 2006
Dublin Airport

The first Irish Peat Society held a seminar on Tuesday 10th October 2006 in the Great Southern Hotel at Dublin airport. The seminar focused on mire, peatland, and peat research and activity on the island of Ireland. Proceedings are available from Catherine.Farrell@bnm.ie

Connolly, J. 2006. Using GIS and remote sensing to study the Irish peatland resource. Peatland utilisation and research in Ireland 2006, Dublin, Irish Peatland Society, pp. 60-65.

Renou, F. 2006. BOGLAND Project: a research programme to develop a protocol for the sustainable management of peatlands in Ireland. Peatland utilisation and research in Ireland 2006, Dublin, Irish Peat Society, pp. 52-55.

Wilson, D. 2006. Climate change, carbon and Irish peatlands. Peatland utilisation and research in Ireland 2006, Dublin, Irish Peatland Society, pp. 56-59.


4th International Conference on Soft Soil Engineering, Vancouver

Noel Boylan gave a talk on the Characterisation of peat using full flow penetrometers at the 4th International Conference on Soft Soil Engineering in Vancouver, Canada, 4-5 October 2006. 

For more details see: http://www.civil.ualberta.ca/icsse/Program_ICSSE_23Se06.pdf

Bridge & Infrastructure Research in Ireland Symposium

Noel Boylan also gave a presentation at the Bridge & Infrastructure Research in Ireland Symposium held in the Urban Institute of Ireland in UCD as well as Trinity College Dublin, 12 and 13 October 2006

For more details see: http://www.ucd.ie/uii/1_6_NU.htm




5th European Conference on Ecological Restoration

Four members of the BOGLAND team participated in the 5th Europe Conference on Ecological Restoration which is taking place in Greifswald, Germany, 22-25 August 2006. 


Dr David Wilson and Florence Renou, from University College Dublin presented a poster entitled: 'The status of Irish peatlands and their future management: carbon gas exchange along a degradation gradient'

The poster can be downloaded here: Greifswald, Wilson_Renou_2006.pdf




Marcus Collier gave a presentation on his PhD work dealing with the socio-cultural aspect of developing industrial cutaway peatland: The National Wetlands Wilderness Park -Developing a strategy for cutaway peatland afteruse in Ireland.



Dr Catherine Farrell, from Bord na Mona gave a presentation on her PhD work in Bellacorrick, Co. Mayo: Rehabilitation of an industrial peat-production landscape in the West of Ireland


For more information on the conference see: http://www.uni-greifswald.de/SER2006/





BMS (British Mycological Society) annual conference 

Louise Deering from the BOGLAND team, Work Package 2.4 will participate in the annual BMS meeting, 4-7 in September, which focuses on 'Stress in Yeasts and Filamentous Fungi'

For more information on the conference see http://www.britmycolsoc.org.uk/events/showevent.asp?EventID=90.







28 April 2006

BOGLAND steeting committee meeting 

EPA, Clonskeagh Road, Dublin 14


Prof. Harri Vasander, University of Helsinki, Finland

Dr Hans Joosten, University of Greifswald, Germany

Bob Davidson, Department of the Environment, NI

Caitriona Douglas, NPWS, Dublin

Gerry McNally, Bord na Mona, Newbridge


the BOGLAND team






January 2006

Florence Renou presented the BOGLAND project at the ENVIRON 06 conference on Saturday 28th January 2006 in UCD. For more information about the conference, double click the logo below. 



BOGLAND is a large-scale 3-year project running from 2005 to 2008 and it is funded by the Irish Environmental Protection Agency, under the ERTDI Programme, within the National Development Plan. The objectives are to review and synthesise current information on environmental, social and institutional aspects of peatland utilisation and management, and to address some of the gaps identified by conducting research on carefully selected sites. The ultimate aim is to develop guidelines for the future management of peatlands in Ireland , with the aim of sustaining the environmental and ecological goods and services they provide as well as the human communities that use them. This project is being carried out by various research organisations (UCD, TCD, NUI Galway, UL and Teagasc) as a group of linked projects which forms one of the largest integrated sustainable development projects in Ireland . Research in sustainable development is inherently multidimensional, requiring inter- and trans-disciplinary collaboration, i.e. involving collaboration between academic researchers from different disciplines (e.g. zoology, botany, microbiology, hydrology, engineering, environmental policy), non-academic experts (e.g. NPWS, IPCC) and stakeholders (e.g. Bord na Móna). This paper will give an overview of the project and highlight some of the important issues raised to date.