High resolution remote sensing for landscape scale restoration of peatland: an overview of work in progress

E. Lowe, Julia Mcmorrow, M Evans, A Bonn

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster


Northern peatlands are one of the largest terrestrial carbon reservoirs in the world and provide vital ecosystem services. However, due to historic and current pressures, large areas of UK peatlands are degrading, especially in the Peak District of England. Restoration work is essential to prevent loss of carbon through erosion and to secure the potential for future sequestration. The Moors for the Future Partnership (MFF) is re-vegetating 6km2 of badly eroded peat in the Peak District National Park to stabilise the peat surface and re-establish ecosystem functions. Treatment of the exposed peat includes application of fertiliser and lime and reseeding with a grass nurse crop mix. Heather brash is spread to provide a mulch for better microclimate and extra seed source. Monitoring is crucial to judge the success of the restoration work, but traditional field-based plot surveys are time consuming and expensive. This paper reports on a new project, supported by a NERC-Natural England CASE studentship, to assess the suitability of high resolution remote sensing as an alternative monitoring tool at the landscape scale. Field monitoring by MFF shows a floristic trajectory as native species re-establish. Key questions to be addressed include to what extent high spatial resolution hyperspectral images can provide information on this trajectory and identify areas needing further treatment. Assessing the habitat condition of reseeded peat soils is challenging task for VISNIR remote sensing, since peat spectra are midway between vegetation and mineral soils. Thus, the full visible to shortwave infrared spectrum will be investigated using Eagle and Hawk SPECIM images. Field spectroradiometry through the growing season will allow phenological change to be established and recommendations to be made on the optimal timing of data acquisition for remote sensing. The paper describes the project and reports on monitoring work so far for the 2009 season.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2009
EventRemote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society (RSPSoc) annual conference, Leicester - Leicester
Duration: 8 Sept 200911 Sept 2009


ConferenceRemote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society (RSPSoc) annual conference, Leicester


  • peatland
  • restoration ecology
  • hyperspectral remote sensing
  • moorland


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