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Strategic Framework for Future Use of Peatlands Presentation to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine 13 May 2014 1.

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Presentation on theme: "Strategic Framework for Future Use of Peatlands Presentation to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine 13 May 2014 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 Strategic Framework for Future Use of Peatlands Presentation to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine 13 May

2 Current Status of Bord na Mona ‘Land’ Bank Total area approximately 80,000 hectares Predominantly bog – not mineral land, even when cutaway Approximately 130 bogs of various sizes Mainly concentrated in Midlands Peat areas characterised by: Scale, complexity and fragmentation Natural, living environments with capacity to re-vegetate Varied depths of peat remaining after cessation of extraction Much of area would flood naturally 2

3 Existing Land Use 3 Production related lands Oweninny, Co Mayo Other – Wind Energy, Biodiversity, Amenity/Tourism, Forestry, etc.

4 Background considerations Peatlands originally seen as wastelands with potential to be drained for agricultural use Value for industrial development for fuel and horticultural media recognised in late 19 th and early 20 th centuries – subsequently developed on industrial scale Land use potential of cutaway originally seen as highly promising – agriculture, horticulture, forestry, etc. – and was thought to be relatively easy to realize Reality is more complex – extensive trials over many decades have shown that economic as well as technical difficulties render use for agriculture and horticulture realistically unviable and potential for forestry is limited Recently, there has been a huge growth in recognition of the biodiversity value of peatlands Cutaway bogs present a range of complex issues that require to be considered on a bog-by-bog basis. 4

5 Framework for the Future use of Peatlands 5 Nature of Cutaway 1 Location & Infrastructure 2 Timeframe for Peat Extraction 3 Economics 4 National & Regional Needs 5 Local Considerations 8 Legislation & Regulation 6 Land Use Planning Policies 7 KEY FINDINGS PRINCIPLES OUTCOMES Land Use Review System Provides for continuous review, assessment and modification over time

6 Bord na Mona Land Use Strategy The objective of Bord na Móna is to balance and optimise the commercial, social and environmental value of its peatland resources Bord na Móna will actively pursue the full potential of its land bank for a variety of appropriate future land uses. The land bank will be developed with regard to commercial benefits and the national interest Bord na Móna will actively interact with other policy making bodies, such as the regional and local authorities, environmental bodies, etc. Cutaway bogs present a range of complex options that require to be considered on a bog-by-bog basis. 6

7 Land Use and Biodiversity Biodiversity is increasingly important nationally and internationally and must have a high priority in considering future land uses Biodiversity provides a contribution to wealth and health through ecosystem services and consequently has economic value Lands identified as having high biodiversity value and/or priority habitats will be reserved for that purpose as the principal future land use Some level of remediation (rehabilitation and/or development) with consequent cost is required for all future land uses. Many of the options are compatible and can be co-located, e.g. wind energy / amenity / water storage / biodiversity 7

8 Land Use Options and some current examples 8 Wind Energy Amenity and Tourism High Value Biodiversity Industry and Infrastructure Forestry  Mountlucas and Bruckana windfarms  Lough Boora Discovery Park, Co Offaly  Community Projects  Drehid Resource Recovery Park, Co Kildare  Derryarkin Sand and Gravel Ltd  Significant areas leased to Coillte  Clonboley Bog Group  Killeglan Bog Group

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10 Appendix Ecosystem Services and Bog Restoration Projects 10

11 Dry calcareous grassland Birch scrub Heather Soft Rush Birch scrub Marsh Arrowgrass Bog Cotton Bottle Sedge Reedmace Baseline ecology survey of cutaway – informing rehabilitation and rewetting potential 11

12 Mapping 11 12

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14 Bord na Mona Bog Restoration

15 Carbon Measurement Rehabilitated Mayo bogs: carbon sink Reed-beds: carbon sink? Are we creating carbon sources or sinks? Cutaway Bog habitats: birch scrub to open water Restoration of Moyarwood bog: carbon store and sink? 15


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