Irrigate peatland (before/after planting)

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
  • Certainty
  • Harms

Study locations

Key messages

  • One study evaluated the effects, on peatland vegetation, of irrigating areas planted with peatland plants. The study was in a bog.
  • Cover (1 study): One replicated, paired, controlled, before-and-after study in a bog in Canada found that irrigation increased the number of Sphagnum moss shoots present 1–2 growing seasons after sowing Sphagnum fragments.

About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A replicated, paired, controlled, before-and-after study in 1993–1994 in a historically mined bog in Quebec, Canada (Rochefort & Bastien 1998) found that irrigating plots sown with Sphagnum-dominated vegetation fragments increased the number of Sphagnum moss shoots present. The effect was biggest after one growing season (irrigated: 250–630 shoots/m2; not irrigated: 60–310 shoots/m2) but persisted after two growing seasons (irrigated: 95–770 shoots/m2; not irrigated: 50–390 shoots/m2). Irrigation also increased the number of Sphagnum shoots in additional plots that were not sown (see intervention Irrigate peatland). In spring 1993, three pairs of plots were established on slightly drained, bare peat. Sections of each plot were sown with vegetation fragments, dominated by one of three Sphagnum moss species (250 fragments/m2). Three plots (one plot/pair) were irrigated during the summer, using sprinklers and water stored on the bog. The other plots were not irrigated. In autumn 1993 and 1994, all Sphagnum shoots were counted in forty 30 x 30 cm quadrats/plot. 

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Taylor, N.G., Grillas, P. & Sutherland, W.J. (2020) Peatland Conservation. Pages 367-430 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2020. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.

Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

All the journals searched for all synopses

Peatland Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Peatland Conservation
Peatland Conservation

Peatland Conservation - Published 2018

Peatland Conservation

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What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

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