2016 Feasibility Project a

Improved approaches for mapping and modelling blanket peatland extent and depth

Applicants: Dr Lauren Parry, Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Glasgow (PI), Dr Duncan Lee and Dr Surajit Ray, Mathematics and Statistics, University of Glasgow

Peatlands are globally important environments due to the large number of ecosystem services they provide. Many of the ecosystem services are delivered as a result of processes which occur beneath the surface and extend through the peat profile. Peat depth can be considerably variable both within and between individual blanket peatlands and as a result accurate mapping is essential for informing our understanding of ecosystem services. Upland land managers have invested considerable resource into gathering peat depth datasets. Although approaches have been developed to map and model blanket peatland depth, these focus on topographic and vegetative relationships and do not fully account for autogenic processes of development, which result in local spatial auto-correlation and complex statistical relationships with covariates of depth. As a result, the datasets gathered by upland managers are not being exploited to their full potential. In collaboration with Natural England and North Pennines AONB Peatland Programme we aim to:

1). Develop a novel statistical approach for representing, predicting and mapping the spatial pattern in peatland depth.

2). Quantify the impact of environmental factors and autogenic processes on peat development.

3). Rigorously test the model developed in [1] to ensure its adequacy and compare it to existing approaches to evidence the improved performance.

4). Develop an approach that makes the modelling approach accessible to end users.

To date over 100 models have been run with differing combinations of covariates and spatial autocorrolation models, across two datasets with differing spatial resolution and sampling strategies. Preliminary analysis shows that the inclusion of autogenic processes in addition to allogenic, outperforms previous attempt at modelling peat depth. At a recent end-user workshop held with Natural England, end-users such as windfarm developers and restoration projects showed great enthusiasm for the project.

Paper published

A paper entitled "Spatial models with covariates improve estimates of peat depth in blanket peatlands" has been published from the SECURE Feasibility Project: Improved approaches for mapping and modelling blanket peatland extent and depth; PI: Dr Lauren  Parry, Team: Dylan Young Professor Duncan Lee and Surajit Ray: