Community-led peatland restoration on Islay

ACT launched our new Peatland Initiative in Oct 2022 to build upon the work started within the CANN project. We aim to make peatland restoration more accessible to everyone on the islands, regardless of the size of their landholding, whilst also building the connection people have with the peatlands around them and improving our understanding of the species that call this landscape home.

Why is it important to restore our peatlands?

Unfortunately, much of our peatlands are in bad condition, leading them to emit large amounts of carbon into the atmosphere and our water courses. We want to restore these peatland habitats, improving the hydrology of bogs to keep them nice and wet, which reduces the carbon released from the peat and creates better conditions for bog-loving plants and animals.

Great Sundew, by Angharad Ward/ACT

Working with NatureScot's Peatland ACTION

As part of the Peatland Initiative, ACT hosts a Peatland ACTION Project Officer role for Islay, Jura and Colonsay, working with NatureScot to facilitate Scottish Government-funded peatland restoration on the islands. Peatland ACTION can provide up to 100% of the upfront costs of restoration or can be used in conjunction with private finance. We work with land managers through the Peatland ACTION application process, helping to design restoration plans and liaising with contractors on the ground as they block ditches and reprofile old peat banks to restore the habitat.

We can also investigate the reduction in carbon emissions through restoring peatlands, using the standards provided by the Peatland Code to calculate the claimable carbon credits associated with each restoration project.


Digger Restoration workshop

Working with our community

The Peatland Initiative is also funded by Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, allowing us to go the extra mile in supporting smaller-scale landholdings through the restoration process. We aim to further explore the connection local people have with peatlands, embracing the historic and cultural value of the habitat and recognising the opportunities it provides us with including employment and ecosystem services such as water regulation and filtration. Funding also allows us to monitor the impact of restoration works on the habitat condition and how birds and insects utilise the areas, looking beyond just the change in hydrology associated with restoration.

The Peatland Initiative is set to deliver over the next 3 years, with big plans in place for further community engagement, peatland appreciation and a trainee post based on Islay.

Get in touch

If you are interested in learning more about ACT’s Peatland Initiative or the opportunities associated with peatland restoration and Peatland ACTION, then please get in touch with Deb Baker [email protected] or Angharad Ward [email protected]