Home

Towards a microbial process-based understanding of the resilience of UK peatland systems

Part of the NERC UK climate resilience programme

This website hosts the output from the NERC funded project ‘Towards a microbial process-based understanding of the resilience of UK peatland systems’ at The University of Manchester.

Nearly 10% of the land area, or three million hectares, of the UK is peatland habitat. To meet the UK’s climate targets, at least 50% of upland peat and 25% of lowland peat will have to be restored to increase the resilience of these globally important carbon stores and sources of biodiversity. We know that fundamentally carbon cycling in peatlands is driven by the microbiome, the billions of bacteria, fungi and archaea that live in peat. However, despite the UK being international leaders in peatland science and restoration practice, we do not yet have a process-based understanding of how the microbiome controls peatland resilience and carbon sequestration.

The project convened a series of workshops involving peatland scientists, microbial ecologists, practitioners, land managers, NGOs and government departments to ascertain the state of the art of microbial process understanding in peatlands. These workshops then defined a research agenda and created a series of research questions which, when answered, will help develop knowledge to improve our understanding and management of peatlands.