Peatland ACTION - What we do

Working to improve the condition of degraded bogs across Scotland

Peatland ACTION is the national programme offering funding to improve the condition of degraded peatlands across Scotland.

Peatland ACTION funding - from Scottish Government - primarily supports on-the-ground peatland restoration activities and is open for applications from eligible land managers who have peatlands that would benefit from restoration. There are no geographical restrictions or target areas for Peatland ACTION funding.

Find out more about what we fund and whether your proposed restoration activities meet the fund’s outcome and eligibility requirements

NatureScot is evolving its approach to supporting peatland restoration in response to this maturing market and the growing demand for support and a new approach to processing NatureScot Peatland ACTION applications will take effect from March 2024


Why are peatlands so important?

The true worth of our peatlands is becoming increasingly recognised. As stores of carbon they are important in tackling climate change and as the basis of rural farming, sporting, tourism and crofting they are vital to the economy.  They also play a role in flood regulation, water quality and support nationally and internationally important biodiversity. 


Peatland ACTION - People and peatlands
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Journey into the wild and beautiful peatlands of Scotland to discover an ancient cultural landscape. A living landscape not far from your front door. Peatlands play a crucial role in all our lives by providing multiple benefits for people and nature. When healthy, they ‘lock-in’ carbon to help combat climate change, support tourism and rural jobs.

Why are we restoring them?

Peatlands are one of Scotland’s largest degraded ecosystems.  When peatlands are degraded the benefits they bring are lost, in fact they become sources of carbon instead of sinks – contributing to climate change rather than mitigating it. 

In late 2012, the Scottish Government allocated funds to NatureScot to kick-start the peatland restoration challenge. In the years since the Peatland ACTION Programme has grown from strength to strength delivering restoration projects across Scotland.

In April 2019 Scotland lead the nation in declaring a global climate emergency. In recognition that restoring peatlands is one of the most effective ways of locking in carbon - offering a clear nature-based solution to both the climate crisis and biodiversity loss - early the following year the Scottish Government announced a multi-annual investment in peatland restoration of more than £250 million up to 2030.

Peatland restoration also plays a key role in Scotland’s green recovery and is helping deliver a just transition to net-zero by supporting the rural economy through the creation and development of land-based jobs and skills across Scotland.

 Infographic showing how a healthy peatland acts like a massive battery which stores carbon
Benefits of restoration - Battery Graphic
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Peatland restoration can help power reductions in global warming greenhouse gas emissions.

In good condition, peatlands actively sequester (capture) CO2 from the atmosphere. Conversely degraded peatlands can emit more CO2 than it removes, becoming a source of global warming greenhouse gases.

Infographic: On the left - the negative end of a cartoon battery - the graphic illustrates a degraded peatland landscape releasing carbon. On the right - the positive end of a cartoon battery - the graphic illustrates a healthy or restored peatland landscape capturing carbon.


How are we restoring them?

We use restoration techniques which stabilises the peat and restores the hydrology of a peatland. For example installing peat dams in man-made ditches to increase water levels, allowing the peat-building mosses, called sphagnums, to re-establish. We also support more novel techniques, such as peat hag re-vegetating by using the surrounding vegetation to stabilise the bare eroding peat.

Read more about the types of restoration interventions that we are using in our compendium of peatland restoration techniques

Building on a winning formula

NatureScot Peatland ACTION Project Officers have played a pivotal role in the success of the project, many having now been in-post for several years and have developed substantial expertise in advising on peatland restoration. Feedback from grant recipients praised the independent and expert advice from Project Officers, who are based around Scotland both in NatureScot and partner organisations.

Our partners

NatureScot Peatland ACTION works in partnership with a range of organisations. Our project officers are hosted both within NatureScot and the following organisations:
Argyll Countryside Trust, Carloway Estate Trust, Crichton Carbon Centre, Glasgow & Clyde Valley (GCV) Green Network Partnership (Clyde Peatlands), Lochaber Fisheries Trust, Shetland Amenity Trust, and Tweed Forum.

We also work closely with others to spread our message, helping us reach our target audiences: Butterfly Conservation – ‘Bogsquad’, Heather Trust, IUCN UK Peatlands Programme, Scottish Land and Estates.

Peatland ACTION Programme delivery partners

Peatland ACTION is a national programme to restore peatlands across Scotland.

It is led and funded by Scottish Government and delivered in partnership with NatureScot, Cairngorms National Park Authority, Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park Authority, Scottish Water, and Forestry and Land Scotland.

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