Connecting Peatlands, People and Countries
The LEADER+ project; 'Connecting People With Our Peatland Heritage'; investigated fresh approaches of making links between people and peatlands in different parts of the European Union (EU). It involved partners in Finland, France, Ireland and Scotland.
Through the project, access and interpretation work was planned, carried out and assessed in each partner country. Concepts were explored at four workshops in 2005 and 2006. A final meeting to share results and review achievements was held in March 2007.
Peatlands vary greatly across Europe in their use and management. This is reflected in the varying levels of visitor management undertaken on peatland sites. In some areas, there is a lot of expertise in footpath construction across peatlands, for example, but less experience in innovative interpretation or the incorporation of new materials or technology. Within the 'Connecting People With Our Peatland Heritage' project, each partner area felt it would benefit from an international exchange of ideas and knowledge. The aim of this is to enable site managers to deliver best practice in every aspect of managing visitors to peatbogs.
Europe's peatlands are valuable to wildlife, including many species which are EU conservation priorities. They can also have strong links to an area's human heritage, including its social and economic history. Sharing aspects of the natural and cultural heritage of peatlands could be an important part of managing bogs which have local, national or international significance.
But peatlands also raise particular challenges for interpretation and visitor management:
- their importance may not be obvious to many visitors
- the instability and wetness of bog surfaces can make access difficult
- the small size of some surviving sites can make their wildlife vulnerable to disturbance
Explore the findings
You can explore different aspects of this international work in this website. It is designed as an online guide to good practice for people interested in sharing peatlands with a variety of audiences. There are brief outlines of peatlands in the different project partner countries and detailed accounts of the sites involved. Many different aspects of the work appear in pages within the broad categories of 'Taking People to Peatlands' and 'Taking Peatlands to People'. Further resources are available in the Library, in sites maintained by Partner Bodies and through wider Links.
'Connecting People with our Peatland Heritage' achieved many things. Perhaps the most important is how it demonstrated the creativity, energy and enthusiasm of people who care about European bogs. They are working in local communities, assisted by national organisations and sharing their knowledge internationally to benefit an important part of Europe's natural and cultural heritage.
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