Working with our wetlands can be a viable alternative to more traditional agriculture on drained wetlands, with added benefits such as regulating water flow and protecting local biodiversity.


Cumbria's Paludiculture Story

Deep peat covers almost 11% of the UK. Deep peat and peaty soils cover 7 M ha (over 30% of the UK) and represent the single most important terrestrial carbon store in the country, containing over 3,200 megatons. Typically, unprotected peatlands are drained for use by agriculture, forestry and extraction, releasing greenhouse gases and destroying habitats. The alternative to drainage is the wet cultivation of peat and peat soils, for traditional uses such as growing reeds.

A paludiculture pilot in Cumbria involves more sustainable use of designated peatland soils that are adjacent to protected wetland sites, in order to safeguard their carbon storage and ensure their productive usage without drainage.

Image: CC Stock Photo

Useful learnings from Cumbria's Paludiculture

Peatlands not only store carbon but also provide other vital ecosystem services such as regulating water flow, conserving biodiversity and supplying forest products. These co-benefits should be quantified and included in any cost-benefit analysis.
Reeds harvested from wetlands have many potential uses, from biogas feedstock to animal fodder, insulation and thatching.
This pilot project has demonstrated the reality of managing wet habitats successfully for agriculture, biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Cumbria's Paludiculture Metrics

Carbon storage
Conservation of biodiversity
Sustainable supply of forest products
Improved regulation of water flow
Share this initiative