Minister of State for land use and biodiversity Pippa Hackett has launched an open call for new locally-led schemes for rewetting farmed peatland.

As part of the Rural Development Programme, the open call will focus on drained peatlands in the midlands region and seeks proposals for development and implementation of a scheme to “target climate action on peatland under agricultural management”, according to minister Hackett.

‘At a time of climate crisis’

She added that such locally-led schemes are “community-based, have brought farmers together for common causes and have delivered real environmental gains across the country”.

“Payments are results based and are in recognition of environmental benefits that farmers provide for biodiversity and climate action.

“At a time of climate and biodiversity crisis, these schemes are providing important deliverables in supporting nature.”

The scheme will look for sustainable land management options for farms at catchment level which will meet some or all of the following objectives:
  • Protect the carbon stock and restore sequestration associated with drained peatlands under agricultural management;
  • Maximise other eco-system service co-benefits such as: protection of biodiversity; water quality; and water regulation;
  • Build resilience to the impacts of climate change at catchment/landscape level.

“How we manage our peatlands can play an important part in removing carbon from our environment and assist us in tackling climate change,” the minister concluded.

‘The right tree in the right place’

Meanwhile, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Dara Calleary and minister Pippa Hackett recently announced funding for the process of rewetting and replanting 2,100ha of Atlantic blanket bog.

The project will see 2,100ha of Atlantic blanket bog, which is currently planted with spruce and pine forests, restored with rewetted bog and replanted with native woodlands.

CEO of Coillte Imelda Hurley said that the project is of significant importance for biodiversity in bogs.

This project aims to sensitively remove the conifers on these sites and restore the landscape with rewetted bog and native woodlands.

“The overall aim is to restore these rare habitats. It will create significant biodiversity and outdoor recreation benefits and improve the visual amenity of this iconic landscape.

“It’s about the right tree in the right place for the right objective.”