A new project funded by Natural England and Yorkshire Water is investigating new ways of diversifying Molinia-dominated blanket bogs by using a simple treatment such as flailing followed by the application of sphagnum beads directly onto the Molinia.

This invasive plant is traditionally dealt with by a combination of burning, poisoning, flailing, followed by possible repeat cycles of these and then a final bout of heather seed spreading.

The first stage of the project  from January – March 2014, will involve surveying for existing sphagnum colonies on three moors of the South Pennines with set-up involving volunteers and sphagnum identification experts.

The project also involves a desk-based study of the efficacy of the Partnership’s restoration techniques over the last few years in diversifying damaged, often bare areas of peat on the blanket bogs, including an assessment of data as part of the MoorLIFE project.

Both parts of the study will also contribute to Natural England’s assessment of blanket bogs; whether the blanket bog can be given the coveted “Favourable Condition” status indicating that has been returned to a healthy, sustainable condition.