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Peatland is the crucially important foundation on which many of our

most important moorland ecosystems are based, but in recent years we

have begun to realize just how vital peat is as a means of safeguarding

against climate change and providing clean, safe drinking water.


In Britain, extensive areas of peatland have been damaged by man over

the past few generations. The advent of commercial forestry in the

uplands has caused untold damage, and drainage for agriculture

continues to harm sensitive peat-forming vegetation. Over time, this has

led to dramatic erosion and loss of stored organic Carbon into the

atmosphere, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions on a vast scale.


When peatland is healthy, it gathers and stores atmospheric Carbon,

retains water to reduce the risk of flash-floods and provides a fantastic

habitat for all kinds of rare and specialized wildlife, including waders and

carnivorous sundew plants.


The management of heather is easily compatible with the conservation of peatland, and the Trust’s work frequently focuses on delivering the latest environmental science to the land managers and land owners who are making decisions about the uplands.

Integrating the best peatland conservation techniques into existing land uses like grouse production or agriculture represents the cutting edge for research and development in the moorland world, and the Heather Trust is involved in several practical, hands-on projects to bring science to the people on the ground.

Sphagnum flushes.JPG
Members' Briefings​

We periodically publish briefings on a variety of subjects which are relevant to moorland managers. These introductory briefings are available below as PDFs and are free for members and visitors to read or download.

Peatland Management

Peatland Condition Assessment


If landowners and managers are unsure about the state of their peatlands, the Peatland Condition Assessment Guide, which has been published by the Trust, provides practical information to help assess their condition.


Using easily observed features and illustrative photographs, the guide helps to identifying the main categories of damaged peatland, providing the starting point for establishing whether or not any restoration work is required. 

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​Sphagnum Guide


The Heather Trust worked in conjunction with the  IUCN Peatland Programme and The MoorLIFE Project to produce this laminated field guide which has recently been published and is available to purchase from the Trust for £3.75 (£2.75 + £1 P&P). 


To order your copy e-mail Anne -

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