All active (Annex I Habitats Directive habitat code 7110*) and degraded (Annex I Habitats Directive habitat code 7120) raised bog habitats in the Natura 2000 network in Wales have unfavourable conservation status. Adverse hydrological regimes are the main factor, caused by past peat cutting, drainage and artificially steep surface gradients which promote water loss. Drainage has also caused extensive scrub development and the spread of problem species such as moor grass (Molinia), both of which also contribute to the unfavourable status. Lack of or poor grazing management is a further key issue.
The conservation status of active raised bogs habitats in the UK is 'bad-declining' (reporting under Article 17 of the Habitats Directive) and in the Atlantic biogeographical region it is 'unfavourable-bad'.
The aim of the LIFE Welsh Raised Bogs project is to improve the conservation status of almost 700 ha of active raised bogs, about 270 ha of degraded raised bogs and associated habitats (depressions on peat substrates, and transition mires and quaking bogs), within the seven raised bog Natura 2000 network sites located wholly in Wales, by implementing favourable management.
The project will do this by tackling the key threats to active raised bogs and creating suitable conditions for their recovery from degraded raised bogs. The project sites support about 10% of the raised bogs habitat in the UK Natura 2000 network and the majority of habitat on natural (non-cutover) raised bogs in southern Britain. Restoration of this is a priority for safeguarding original raised bogs habitat in the EU. This emphasis is distinct from other current LIFE raised bog projects in the UK which focus on addressing secondary raised bogs habitat on cut-over surfaces of degraded bogs habitat. All actions will also benefit associated bog habitats which occur on two of the Natura 2000 sites nested within raised bogs.
The overall project aims will be achieved by the following objectives: