Forest To Bog (Forestry England – Case Study)

Treeclear UK are proud to have recently completed a forest to bog restoration for Forestry England. Check out further details of the case study as well as before and after photos of the completion below.

February 11, 2024
Treeclear UK

Treeclear UK are proud to have recently completed a forest to bog restoration for Forestry England.

Check out further details of the case study as well as before and after photos of the completion below.

Client: Forestry England 

Site: Rabbit Crag – Kielder Forest, Northumberland 

About The Site / Project

The Border Mires are a network of 55 sphagnum bogs covering 2,800 hectares of Kielder Forest in Northumberland. Many of the mires were planted with trees in the 20th century but planting up these peatland areas affected these fragile habitats, lowering the water table and drying out the peat surface. 

Just over 12% of the world’s blanket bogs found in Britain, the border mires are extremely important on an international scale. Due to the importance of these sites, most of them have been designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Special Area of Conservation (SACs). With these in mind, careful environmental considerations were paramount to the success of the project.

If you’re seeking forest to bog restoration, please get in touch with us directly at 07813 140 683‬ to discuss your bespoke requirements and receive your without-charge quotation.

Why Do They Remove Trees Off Peatland Sites? 

Trees and scrub take the moisture out of the peat which in turn dries the peat out, once dry and damaged the peat starts to degrade and can no longer lock in carbon.  

Removing coniferous trees, self seeded pines and regenerated birch helps return a mire into an open habitat. By removing the trees stops the top surface of the peat from drying out this then enables water to be retained on site raising the overall water table over the surface of the peat.

The objective was to remove the 23Ha of dense trees and another 10Ha of scattered self-seeded trees. The major issue with the site was it was land locked, so access was limited with only 1 access point through a clear fell site (big stumps) and across deep soft peat.

With no way of removing the failed timber crop off the site other than at a cost which would prevent the project going ahead we had to look at alternatives.

Forest To Bog – Before & After

How Did Treeclear UK Help?

Treeclear UK were awarded the contract to mulch the trees in-situ which would involve careful planning, experience and specialist equipment to successfully complete the contract.

For the 23Ha of dense trees some of which were 20 m tall we used 5 light weight low ground pressure excavators with purpose built mulching heads. Trees were mulched from top to bottom reducing the woody material down to acceptable size so it could remain on-site. Oversized timber was felled by hand then utilised in the ditch blocking process at a later date. 

The area of self-seeded pine trees was mulched using our low ground pressure tracked mulcher. Coming in at only 10 tons with a ground pressure of only 1.25 PSI the 430hp mulcher reduced the trees to a fine mulch with ease on the soft terrain. 

Once all the mulching and flailing was complete, the main ditches on the site required blocking. 2,500m of ditch blocking was required on the perimeter ditch; this was done by forming peat dams every 10m using unoxidised peat from the bottom of the ditch. 

Ditches running through the site where peat dams wouldn’t be suitable due to the amount of stumps, were blocked using the oversized timber from the felled trees. Timber was put into the ditches lengthways using a timber grab on one of the low ground pressure excavators. 

Placing timber into the internal ditches and forming peat dams on the perimeter ditches helped to retain water across the site. With the surface of the peat holding water and the mulched material forming a perfect growing matrix across the surface of the bog, mosses, plants and grasses started to recolonise the area in a short timeframe, making the project a huge success. 

Why Choose Treeclear UK?

Treeclear UK are proud to be your accredited and trusted environmental land clearance company. We are able to provide comprehensive forestry and woodland management services for a wide range of clients throughout the UK including: land agents, government organisations, private estates, commercial clients, and wildlife trusts.

Qualifications and member organisations we’re proud to be a part of include;-

  • Construction Skills Certificate Scheme (CSCS)
  • City & Guilds NPTC qualified including (FMOC) 
  • Members Forest Industry Safety Accord (FISA)

Contact Treeclear UK

if you’re seeking environmental land clearance services, such as forest to bog restoration, look no further than Treeclear UK. We are a 5-star-rated company and have successfully completed dozens of forest to bog restorations throughout the UK.

For more information or to discuss your bespoke requirements with Treeclear UK, you can call us directly at 07813 140 683‬.

Alternatively, if you prefer to email, use our online contact form and we’ll get back to you promptly.