Sustainable management of peatlands: An ecosystem services assessment

A consultancy project for Moors for the Future, as part of the Defra funded Making Space for Water Project. Making Space for Water was one of three projects funded under the Multi-Objective Flood Management Demonstration Scheme, in response to the Pitt Review of the summer 2007 floods.

The issue – peatlands provide a wide range of benefits to society and are also important habitats in their own right. However, large areas are degraded and are not currently delivering the full range of ecosystem services that are possible. This project examined how peatlands in the Peak District can be managed more sustainably and the potential impact of key policy and environmental pressures. These issues were addressed through a series of stakeholder workshops. We facilitated a simple, expert-based ecosystem services assessment of the Upper Ashop Catchment in the Dark Peak and the potential change in ecosystem service provision under eight key policy and environmental drivers.

Expert-based assessment – workshop participants identified the key ecosystem services either currently or potentially delivered by the site, highlighting the multiple benefits that such areas can provide. An assessment of the consequences of eight alternative policy and environmental drivers on peatland management practices highlighted the likely management response. An assessment of change in ecosystem service provision under the same policy and environmental drivers then identified the key trade-offs, synergies and impacts that would likely occur under each driver.