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Best Practice Award for Peatland ACTION

Wooodlands Staff and Volunteers at work in a peat bank Wooodlands Staff and Volunteers at work in a peat bank Zoom On Thursday 30th June, the Birmingham Botanical Gardens played host to this year’s prestigious Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) Awards. A day to celebrate excellence in the fields of ecology and environmental management, honouring individuals, organisations and projects that demonstrate exemplary and inspirational best practice in the industry, with previous winners including Sir David Attenborough

The Peatland ACTION project managed by Scottish Natural Heritage and overseen in the isles by Shetland Amenity Trust’s Peatland Restoration Project Officer, Sue White, won the Best Practice Award for large-scale practical nature conservation.

Since 2014, Sue has been working to assist land managers or common grazings committees in assessing the condition of their peatland - identifying management practices that could improve the condition of the habitat and obtain funding for this work. Shetland Amenity Trust’s Woodlands squad and local contractor Sean Mackenzie carried out the practical Peatland Action funded restoration work.

Andrew McBride from Scottish Natural Heritage said “This is a great accolade for us from one of the UK’s leading professional environmental membership bodies representing and supporting ecologists and environmental managers. It reflects and acknowledges the hard work, commitment and innovation by those involved which has made Peatland ACTION such a success.”

The Peatland Action project began in September 2012, when the Scottish Government allocated Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) £5 million from the Green Stimulus Package to deliver:

• restoration and management of peatlands to maintain carbon stores and encourage carbon sequestration to restore peatland ecosystem functions;

• enhanced ecosystem resilience to climate change;

• and to build peatland restoration capacity and understanding amongst land managers, contractors, advisors and the public.

In June 2015 a further £3 million was announced that has enabled the project to undertake restoration of another 3000 hectares building on the 5,580 hectares that saw physical restoration work between 2013-14.

Another significant part of the project has been to spread the wealth of knowledge and expertise on peatland restoration built by our project officers, land managers and contractors through a series of demonstration events.

The project will continue with the work of monitoring peatland and using previously gathered data to assist land managers with identifying the best options for land use and conservation.