Northern Ireland Peatland Strategy – help shape our response

The Institute is planning to respond to the NI Peatland Strategy consultation currently open and we would like to invite comments from all members across the UK. Read the consultation and send your thoughts to Jemima Cooper, the Institute’s Senior Policy & Research Officer, by 20 August.

Peatland sites for timber production and forestry in general are the subject of much debate across the UK, and this is particularly important in Northern Ireland. A key issue is the scope for future afforestation on shallow peat soils.

‘Forests for Our Future’ is a ten year programme aimed at helping to achieve net-zero carbon by 2050 and is a foundation initiative of the Green Growth Strategy being developed by DAERA. It aims to plant 18 million trees or 9,000 hectares of new woodland over the next 10 years.

We are all keenly aware of the role forestry must play in helping to meet climate change targets, as well as biodiversity, timber production, environmental protection of water and hydrological impacts, and landscape benefits. We would welcome comments and experience from Northern Ireland and from elsewhere in the UK on:

  • woodland as an appropriate land use for peatland habitats, e.g. peatland edge woodland
  • the role of the UK Forestry Standard as the reference standard for sustainable forest management across the UK
  • utilising existing research, evidence and decision support  frameworks from elsewhere in the UK on the management and restoration of peatlands –  including the growth rates necessary to ensure forests on peat provide a positive carbon balance.

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