Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • Matters Arising
  • Published:

Validity of managing peatlands with fire

Matters Arising to this article was published on 28 October 2019

The Original Article was published on 03 December 2018

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Fig. 1: The Hard Hill Plots at Moor House in the North Pennines, northern England.

Infoterra Ltd & Bluesky, Google Earth


  1. Marrs, R. H. et al. Experimental evidence for sustained carbon sequestration in fire-managed, peat moorlands. Nat. Geosci. 12, 108–112 (2018).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Price, J. Soil moisture, water tension, and water table relationships in a managed cutover bog. J. Hydrol. 202, 21–32 (1997).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Granath, G., Moore, P. A., Lukenbach, M. C. & Waddington, J. M. Mitigating wildfire carbon loss in managed northern peatlands through restoration. Sci. Rep. 6, 28498 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Rochefort, L. & Lode, E. in Boreal Peatland Ecosystems (eds Wieder, R. K. & Vitt, D. H.) 382–423 (Springer, 2006).

  5. MoorLIFE 2020 (Moors for the Future, 2015);

  6. Averis, A. M. et al. An Illustrated Guide to British Upland Vegetation (Pelagic Publishing, 2004).

  7. Lindsay, R. A. et al. The Flow Country: The Peatlands of Caithness and Sutherland (Nature Conservancy Council, 1988).

  8. Boatman, D. J. The Silver Flowe National Nature Reserve, Galloway, Scotland. J. Biogeogr. 10, 163–274 (1983).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Bannister, P. The water relations of certain heath plants with reference to their ecological amplitude. III. Experimental studies: general conclusions. J. Ecol. 52, 499–509 (1964).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Common Standards Monitoring Guidance for Upland Habitats (Joint Nature Conservation Committee, 2009).

  11. Noble, A. et al. Prescribed burning, atmospheric pollution and grazing effects on peatland vegetation composition. J. Appl. Ecol. 55, 559–569 (2017).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Holden, J. Piping and woody plants in peatlands: cause or effect? Water Resour. Res. 41, W06009 (2005).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Clay, G. D., Worrall, F., Clark, E. & Fraser, E. D. G. Hydrological responses to managed burning and grazing in an upland blanket bog. J. Hydrol. 376, 486–495 (2009).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Turetsky, M. R., Donahue, W. F. & Benscoter, B. W. Experimental drying intensifies burning and carbon losses in a northern peatland. Nat. Commun. 2, 514 (2011).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Wilkinson, S. L., Moore, P. A., Flannigan, M. D., Wotton, B. M. & Waddington, J. M. Did enhanced afforestation cause high severity peat burn in the Fort McMurray Horse River wildfire? Environ. Res. Lett. 13, 014018 (2018).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


All authors are involved in peatland research and conservation. Between them they have received funding from a range of governmental and non-governmental organizations and companies for research into fundamental peatland processes and conservation and restoration methods and impacts, although this Matters Arising article was not funded and is not sponsored by any organization. Governmental organizations include the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (UK), Natural Resources Wales and its predecessors, Natural England, Natural Resources Canada, the Natural Environment Research Council (UK), the Canadian Natural Sciences and Engineering Council and the Scottish and Welsh Governments. Non-governmental organizations and companies include the Dutch Foundation for the Conservation of Irish Bogs, the Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association, FP Innovations, Global Water Futures, the National Trust, Peat Resources Ltd, Premier Tech Ltd, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd, Syncrude Canada Ltd, Pattern Energy Ltd, the Quaternary Research Association and The Royal Society. M.R. is the Research Lead for the IUCN-UK Peatland Programme, which promotes the conservation and restoration of peatlands.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations



All authors designed and wrote the paper.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to A. J. Baird.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Additional information

Peer review information Primary Handling Editor(s): Xujia Jiang.

Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Baird, A.J., Evans, C.D., Mills, R. et al. Validity of managing peatlands with fire. Nat. Geosci. 12, 884–885 (2019).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing