Life Project On Moyclare Bog
Restoration works, in the form of drain blocking, have taken place at the site. These habitat remediation measures were carried out in the period between the surveys by Kelly et al. (1995) and Fernandez et al. (2005). Almost 3km of high bog drains are now blocked with peat dams, and the effectiveness of this measure can be seen in the change in status of 0.384km of blocked drains from reduced-functional to non-functional during the current reporting period.
There was evidence of some Active Raised Bog habitat getting wetter, and, therefore, a reasonable expectation that increases in habitat extent and improvements in quality will be seen in the future. In the 2012 survey, high bog drainage blocking is reported as positive management action under the heading of Restoring / Improving the hydrological regime.
The current conservation objective for Moyclare Bog is to restore the area of Active Raised Bog to the area present when the Habitats Directive came into force in 1994. In the case of Active Raised Bog, the objective also includes the restoration of Degraded Raised Bog. The Area objective for Active Raised Bog is 35.37ha (comprising 30.03ha on high bog and 5.34ha on cutover).
The objective in relation to Structure and Functions (S&Fs) is that at least half of the Active Raised Bog area should be made up of the central ecotope and active flush (i.e. the wetter vegetation communities).
Degraded Raised Bog still capable of regeneration should be, according to the interpretation manual, capable of regeneration to ‘active raised bog’ in 30 years if appropriate measures are put in place (i.e. no major impacting activities are present and any necessary restoration works are implemented). In the past the habitat area was considered to be all high bog not considered to be active, but this is now not accepted as much of the high bog can no longer be restored to active.
The remaining non-active high bog is considered supporting habitat for the Annex I habitats on the high bog. This supporting habitat is an essential part of the hydrological unit necessary to support Active and Degraded Raised Bog habitats.
The restoration of suitable cutover areas is essential for Active Raised Bog to achieve the favourable conservation condition at the site. Nevertheless it is acknowledged that a long period of time (i.e. over 30 years) may be needed after appropriate restoration works are undertaken on the cutover areas for the habitat to develop.
Restoration works along the western cutover of Killyconny Bog SAC in Co Cavan indicated the occurrence of pioneer ‘active raised bog’ vegetation 8 years after these were undertaken. Based on the close ecological relationship between Active Raised Bog, Degraded Raised Bog and Rhynchosporion depressions, it is considered that should favourable conservation condition for ‘Active Raised Bog’ be achieved on the site, then, as a consequence, favourable conservation condition for the other two habitats would also be achieved.
Restoration works on Mongan Bog SAC in County Offaly in the early 1980’s also indicated favourable results.
As its overall objective, this LIFE Nature Project aims at restoring the favourable conservation status of Active Raised Bog (Natura 2000 code: 7110 *Active Raised Bogs) in Ireland through the protection and restoration of a selection of bogs within the SAC network.
Moyclare Bog SAC has been selected for inclusion in this project as it is one of the 53 raised bog SACs designated in Ireland under the EU Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC). As such, this site is deemed to be of paramount importance as an example of Irish raised bog to be conserved and restored. It fulfills this role regionally as one of the most intact raised bogs close to the River Shannon floodplain; nationally as one of the most valuable raised bogs in the country; and at the EU level as an adopted site of Community Importance.
Additionally, potential for increase in the area of Active Raised Bog has already been observed at this site. Furthermore, this site is one of the most appropriate to reach the project’s objectives as turf-cutting appears to have ceased entirely in recent years and there is a good local community surrounding the site and moving into Ferbane.