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Peatland restoration is an integral part of managing land sustainably. It involves tackling a legacy of growing trees in areas now protected from planting by current environmental policy and practice.

FLS has begun the restoration of almost 7,500 hectares of land from 2014 to 2020. This is done in various ways and can involve removing trees, but always involves re-wetting the peatlands to restore their hydrological behavior. The goal of the techniques is to help the valuable peatland habitats to recover quickly.  

The restoration work can appear to be quite dramatic and indeed counter-intuitive at first. Still, we often see the desirable peatland species such as cotton grass and sphagnum mosses return within a year of the restoration projects starting.

Peatland before and after
A before (left) and after (right) photo of peatland restoration at Ardmore on the Isle of Mull.

How are we going to do it?

We will continue to restore peatlands on open ground that have been modified in the past. For those peatlands that have plantations on them, we will restore some of them back to open peatland.  After felling some of the afforested peatlands, we will replant them when this is likely to result in net carbon capture.
We aim to manage peatlands in an optimal way to maximize the benefits they can provide. To achieve this, we will work with other organisations, contractors, and people to help deliver peatland restoration on Scotland’s forests and land. 
We are one of the Scottish Government agencies that is part of Peatland Action.