Coillte's LIFE Project - Restoring Raised Bog in Ireland


Delegates from Ireland, the UK and continental Europe attended a two-day event hosted by Coillte in Carrick-on-Shannon to mark the conclusion of the LIFE Project - Restoring Raised Bog in Ireland.

Coillte’s Raised Bog restoration project represents a very important conservation initiative, with 571 hectares of Raised Bog on Coillte’s estate rehabilitated. This project will preserve a unique part of our heritage for future generations.

The event consisted of a one-day indoor conference and a second day which was spent visiting two of the project sites in Counties Galway and Roscommon. The conference took place in the Landmark Hotel and included speakers from -

  • Coillte on Managing High Conservation Value areas in Coillte and on the Raised Bog Restoration Project
  • National Parks and Wildlife Service on Raised Bog Restoration in Ireland
  • the Irish Peatland Conservation Council on Management of Lodge Bog - and
  • Scottish Wildlife Trust on the success of their LIFE Raised Bog Restoration Projects.

In 2004, with the support of EU LIFE Nature funding, Coillte embarked on this project to restore raised bogs on 14 sites spread throughout the Midlands.

Coillte is a commercial company operating in forestry, land-based businesses, energy and panel products. The company, which today employs over 1,200 people, was established in 1989 and owns over 445,000 hectares of land - approximately 7% of the land cover in Ireland.

In 2004, Coillte received funding from the EU LIFE–Nature Programme to actively restore 571 hectares of raised bog habitat on 14 midland sites in counties Galway, Roscommon, Longford, Westmeath, Meath, Cavan and Laois.

The peatlands of the Irish midlands are among the most important raised bog systems remaining in Europe and it is estimated that Ireland contains 50% of the intact oceanic raised bog systems in Europe.  All 14 sites are candidate Special Areas of Conservation (cSACs) under the EU Habitats Directive and provide habitat for a range of rare plant and animal species.

This project addressed the main ecological threats that affect raised bog habitats such as -

  • removal of 450 hectares of plantation forest;
  • blocking drains to raise water levels and restore the hydrological balance of the peatland areas;
  • removal of naturally-regenerating trees from adjacent areas of open, unplanted bog;
  • perimeter protection of vulnerable raised bog sites against fire - and
  • consultations to secure control of turbary (turf cutting) rights.

The raised bogs of Ireland are important for a wide variety of reasons - including carbon storage, water supply and biodiversity.

Raised bogs have a rich diversity of Flora and Fauna. These plants (including spp. Sphagnum mosses, sundews, cranberries and bog rosemary) and animals (ranging from Red Deer to migrating Greenland white-fronted geese) are specially adapted to the wet and nutrient poor conditions that prevail on raised bogs. Many of these plants and animal species are considered rare in a European context.

For further information, contact -

Angela Wallace
PR/Administration Manager
LIFE 04 Project
Central Park
Harbour Street

Tel: 044 9342744 / Mob: 086 2502571
Fax: 0449342770
Email: [email protected]