About the project

The initiative, a consortium effort by the James Hutton Institute, UK Centre for Hydrology & Ecology and the universities of Nottingham, Leeds, Exeter and Highlands and Islands, with >25 project partners, seeks to analyse and predict how UK and European peatlands will behave under climate change and current land use, and what strategies should be taken to help deliver net zero ambitions.

With respect to future climate change, the project will determine the impacts of drainage and land use changes on how peatland stores carbon, and the potential of different land management options to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Researchers will also examine the wider impact of climate change on both the European and global peatland carbon stocks.

The team aims to create a major new peatland observation network across European peatland as well as a several new model-based tools to predict future resilience of peatlands, including a new, peatland-specific model component of JULES, the UK land surface model. These tools will be used to generate the missing understanding of peatland behaviour and resilience across Europe under future climate mitigation scenarios.

Image of the most northerly UK flux tower at Girlsta, Shetland, on eroding peatland. Photo: James Hutton Institute