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Blanket Bog Restoration in Ireland  
Coillte, Government Buildings, Cranmore Road, Sligo  |  Email:  |  Tel: +353 (0)71 9162663  
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Techniques Used
Site Work Before And After
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Restoration Techniques
The restoration of blanket bog involves the use of a range of techniques. The ultimate aim of restoration is to keep the watertable in the peat as close to the bog surface as possible for most of the year, in order to keep the bog actively growing.
  Restoration Techniques Used
The main restoration techniques used during this project are as follows:
  1. Felling to waste of young/low yielding conifers
Windrowed conifers at Eskeragh
Commercial removal of conifers
Most of the sites within the project contain areas of conifers, which have grown poorly due to the wet, nutrient-poor nature of the peat. These areas of conifers have been felled manually, by chainsaw, and left on site.

At some sites in County Mayo, where the cover of felled conifers was heavy, the conifers have been put up into long windrows by an excavator in order to facilitate subsequent drain-blocking activities.

The windrowing of trees also has the added advantage of clearing the bog surface of trees thus allowing the more rapid regeneration of the bog vegetation.
  2. Commercial removal of conifers
At a few sites in the project, e.g. Shanvolahan and Emlaghdauroe, a commercial crop of lodgepole pine occurs. These areas of trees were removed by conventional forestry techniques, i.e. cut by harvester and removed to the road by a forwarder running on brash mats composed of felled trees. This method of extraction leaves a peat surface dominated by brash mats and scattered pine branches.
Commercial Felling Emlaghdauroe
  3. Chipping
At a couple of sites in the project the chipping of conifers was carried out on an experimental basis in order to clear the bog surface of large amounts of woody material. This involved the felling of trees manually by chainsaw and the feeding of these trees into a tractor-powered chipper by an excavator fitted with a tree grab. Although this work results in a very clean bog surface it is relatively slow and expensive, especially in comparison with the simple fell to waste technique.
Chipping conifers
  4. Blocking of drains
The blocking of bog drains is a very important part of the bog restoration process. Most of the drains were inserted just before the conifers were planted in order to improve growing conditions for the trees. In this project most of the drains are being blocked by plastic dams, although some blocking of drains with peat has also been carried out by machine. The plastic dams are formed by lengths of interlocking, corrugated plastic which are cut to size on site and hammered into the drains manually, with a sledgehammer.
Blocking drains at Croaghonagh
On relatively flat sites dams were placed every 15 metres along drains however in areas where the surface slope was greater dams were placed at closer intervals in order to keep water close to the bog surface.
  Site Work Before and After
Emlaghdauroe Pre felling Emlaghdauroe Post Felling
(See road in pictures)
Emlaghdauroe Pre felling Emlaghdauroe Post felling
Emlaghdauroe - Connemara
Emlaghdauroe - Connemara
- Work Ongoing
Emlaghdauroe  Connemara Pre felling Emlaghdauroe Connemara Work Ongoing
Emlaghdauroe - Connemara Post-Felling
Emlaghdauroe Connemara Post felling
Eskeragh Pre Felling Eskeragh Felled to Waste
Eskeragh Pre felling Eskeragh Felled to Waste
Emlaghdauroe drainblock planning Sphagnum returning in Dromalonhurt
Emlaghdauroe drainblock planning Sphagnum returning in Dromalonhurt
Felling to waste - Dromalonhurt
Felling to waste - Dromalonhurt
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