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Peatland restoration pays off for nature - Natural Resources Wales

As the first part of the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) takes place at Kunming, China, a partnership project to restore the Anglesey Fens is showing great signs of success with rare wildlife returning to make their homes on the landscape, according to observations made by specialists in the fields of plants and peatlands.

Anglesey boasts three fen National Nature Reserves (NNRs) - Cors Erddreiniog (the largest), Cors Bodeilio and Cors Goch.

Together they form part of the Anglesey Fens Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and are the UK’s second largest expanse of fens after East Anglia.

The award-winning Anglesey and Llŷn Fens LIFE+ project was the largest wetland restoration project of its time in Wales. It won the Best Nature Award out of 600 LIFE projects across Europe - a huge achievement for NRW and for Wales.

The main aim was to restore or improve 750 hectares of very rare fen habitats, which depend on a delicate water balance and limestone springs that flow into the peat.

The peatland restoration work carried out at the Anglesey Fens addresses the intrinsically linked nature and climate emergencies which top the agendas at the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15) and the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) this year.

The National Peatland Action Programme, launched in 2020, is learning from past restoration to make sure that Wales delivers for both climate and nature.

Rare and endangered species such as the dwarf stonewort, greater bladderwort, medicinal leech and southern damselflies have been found this year in good numbers and most in new places on the Anglesey Fens restoration and management areas.

Fens are a special and rare kind of peatland. Bogs are fed solely from rainwater, while fens are also fed by streams and groundwater.

Mineral-rich water from the porous limestone rocks that surround the Anglesey Fens drains into them and it’s this mixing of alkaline and acid that makes them so special, and so rare.

They create the perfect conditions for a whole host of rare plants and animals, many of which are marsh plants growing closely together such as rushes, sedges or blankets of wildflowers.

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