A peatland restoration project across extensive upland bog and heathland is to be undertaken at the famous Luggala estate in the Wicklow mountains.
Luggala Estate Limited said it was “starting its response towards addressing the climate and biodiversity emergencies” through the initiative, which would see 1,300 hectares of peatlands restored over several years.
The peatlands on Luggala are made up of blanket bog, wet heath and dry heath habitats. Peat harvested on Luggala provided fuel during the “emergency” in the second World War. Areas mainly close to the upland roads were drained for peat extraction, removing surface vegetation in the process.
There was extensive drainage of peatlands in subsequent decades, linked to an effort to improve grazing or to prepare land for forestry. This has significantly affected the hydrology and integrity of the peatlands in those areas, with the habitats drying out. The added pressure of grazing by deer and sheep also dramatically affected its condition from a habitats perspective.
“This is an ambitious project that will take many years to complete. We will start with detailed ecological and hydrological studies, then focus on a target of restoring 150 hectares of blanket bog and improve heathland management on a further 150 hectares of wet and dry heath,” said Anthony Blanchfield, environment manager at Luggala.