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MSc project: Peat bog restoration: implications of erosion and sediment transfer at Flow Moss, North Pennines
Supervised by Dr. Jeff Warburton and Dr. Richard Hardy, Durham University
Thesis available here: http://etheses.dur.ac.uk/3927/
My research focused on the impact of peatland restoration measures on erosion and sediment transfer at a small area (7 ha) of actively eroding bare peat flats in the North Pennines. The peatland restoration measures carried out as part of the North Pennines AONB Partnership's Peatscapes project included the construction of a fence to limit grazing (in April 2010) and the spreading of heather cuttings over bare peat areas (in December 2010) to encourage the re-vegetation, and stablilisation, of the bare peat surface.
My research used an extensive monitoring framework of field equipment to quantify the erosion and sediment transfer across the bare peat by physical processes such as wind erosion and surface wash. Equipment included sediment traps, erosion pins and an Automatic Weather Station (pictured below) that were serviced regularly during the study period. Additionally, a Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) survey was carried out to quantify peat depth and an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) used to obtain high resolution aerial imagery of the study site.
The measurement framework allowed an improvement in the understanding of the dynamics of sediment transfer across bare peat surfaces and also enabled the construction of a sediment budget for Flow Moss. This identified the relative importance of the different sediment transfer processes (e.g. wind erosion or surface wash) acting at the site which will help make future restoration measures more successful. It was found that the carbon store at Flow Moss was relatively stable at present but in order for the area to remain a carbon store, rather than a carbon sink, it is essential that the management strategies are successful in restoring the vegetation cover. My research covered the time period just after the initial phase of restoration so continued monitoring of the erosional processes is important to fully understand the impact of peatland restoration on erosion and sediment transfer.
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