Biodiversity of cutaway bogs

Objectives

We know we have a responsibility in terms of managing our bogs into the future. We aim to strengthen our role in enhancing biodiversity and creating awareness of the biodiversity value of cutaway bogs.

Over the past two years Bord na Móna has formalised its Corporate Biodiversity Objective which aims to strengthen the role of Bord na Móna in enhancing biodiversity and to create awareness of the values of cutaway bogs through wise-use management for biodiversity. The broad aims of Bord na Móna in terms of biodiversity developed under its Corporate Biodiversity Objective are to:

  • Promote and enhance the conservation of biodiversity regimes of local, national, European and international importance within Bord na Móna ownership
  • Raise awareness of and encourage involvement in the conservation of biodiversity within Bord na Móna and the wider community
  • Facilitate the establishment of a framework for sustainable planning and development of the Bord na Móna bogs for biodiversity and other appropriate potential after-uses
  • Highlight both the role Bord na Móna has played to date in biodiversity enhancement by outlining existing biodiversity projects and also how Bord na Móna will continue to develop its role in terms of enhancing biodiversity at local, regional, national and European levels
  • Outline the objectives and actions that form the basis of this Biodiversity Action Plan (link to Biodiversity Action Plan) in order to achieve the aims outlined above

Objective 1: To continue to carry out all works in line with best practice guidelines and relevant legislation across all Bord na Móna bogs:

Essentially this objective relates to ongoing compliance with relevant legislation to Bord na Móna activities. Compliance is necessary to ensure the continuation of the core businesses within Bord na Móna (peat production) while also facilitating development of potential commercial developments (such as wind farms) on Bord na Móna bog areas that will have to go through EIA and planning processes.

Objective 2: To survey and identify potential biodiversity areas within Bord na Móna bogs:

An ecology survey of all the Bord na Mona bogs was initiated in 2009. To date (May 2011), 40,000ha of bog have been surveyed with detailed habitat maps, species records and baseline reports developed for each bog area. These will add to the knowledge base as to how the Bord na Móna bogs will develop in the short term and long term in relation to biodiversity. It will also inform how the Bord na Móna bogs can be connected by fringe areas, other nature conservation sites and inter-connecting wildlife corridors. The survey will continue with additional target species and habitat surveys such as the ongoing surveys by BirdWatch Ireland.

New Mayo Carbon Plots

Objective 3: Promote and develop best practice in terms of rehabilitation plans for all Bord na Móna bogs to stabilise former peat production areas and enhance biodiversity:

A number of rehabilitation methods (drain blocking, rewetting, tree planting) have already been tried and tested by Bord na Mona and these will be added to as the ecology survey identifies potential options for biodiversity enhancement, such as reedbed establishment and enhancement along artificially drained bog areas. Relevant new technologies developed in other countries will also be evaluated.

Objective 4: To raise awareness and create a greater appreciation of the biodiversity and natural heritage of Bord na Móna cutaway bogs and associated lands:

This will involve a programme of communication within the company and to the wider public. The publication and distribution of the Biodiversity Action Plan is a central part of this objective, as well as organised biodiversity events for Bord na Mona employees and the wider public.

Objective 5: Monitor the progress of the Bord na Móna Biodiversity Action Plan:

The Biodiversity Action Plan is essentially a five year plan that will be updated in 2015. In terms of monitoring the outputs of the plan this will be carried out annually with a progress report to all consultees, and a detailed review and update of the Biodiversity Action Plan in the period 2014 to 2015.