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MMPEAT is a new consultancy and centre of knowledge for peatland research and restoration.

We aim to provide high quality, scientifically proven expertise to the peatland industry and conservation bodies. Whether you're a peatland restorer considering different re-vegetation strategies, a peat extractor weighing up Sphagnum farming, a conservation agency or an ecological consultancy looking for a scientific partner, we would like to work with you.

Over the last 10 years we've worked with a number of peatland restorers and industry bodies to monitor the success of different re-vegetation techniques, the relationship between different Sphagnum species to soil biogeochemistry and the long-term success of restoration.

Our team has a long-standing involvement with moorland and bog restoration and draws together a breadth of knowledge encompassing internationally recognised experts specialising in:



The PEATBOG project (Pollution, Precipitation and Temperature Impacts on Peatland Biodiversity and Biogeochemistry) investigated the impact of nitrogen pollution and climate change on the health of peatlands, it was funded by the European Research Association BiodivERsA programme.

Through field and laboratory experiments and a European Survey, PEATBOG aimed to understand how nitrogen pollution and changing climate, individually and combined, affect the biodiversity and ecosystem properties of peatlands. 

Restoration of degraded bogs

The blanket bogs of the southern Pennines are among the most degraded in the UK, where regional industrial pollution along with poor management of grazing and burning has resulted in large areas of eroding bare peat surfaces (> 9 km2).

Initial restoration efforts have focused on stabilising the peat surface, using heather brash, lime, fertiliser and grass seed (‘treated’ surfaces). Cotton grass and other species usually begin to naturally recolonise this improved area, but where this process is slow or species-poor, plug plants are used. The overall restoration procedure has been successful in restoring cover to large areas of bare peat. The project has now moved on to the widespread re-establishment of Sphagnum mosses using Sphagnum beads. We are monitoring the success of this methodology.

Our work has been funded through a number of projects with Moors for the Future and we also work with Natural England on cutover bogs in the North-West of England.

DEFRA/NERC Terrestrial Umbrella

We have investigated the effects of pollution (acid rain, re-active nitrogen compounds and ozone) on semi-natural vegetation.

Research is rooted in work on Welsh moorlands where long running nitrogen experiments since 1989 have highlighted the sensitivity to nitrogen pollution of different plant species and ecological processes (eg. raised nitrogen leaching, base cation depletion, increased winter injury, loss of lichens and bryophytes, Ref 1). Research has been supported by funding from the UK Department of Environment and NERC thematic programmes ‘Environmental Diagnostics’ and ‘Global Atmospheric Nitrogen Enrichment’ (1998-2004) and by Manchester Met.


Chris Field, Simon Caporn, Nancy Dise, Lucy Sheppard. (2013). Constraints on the ability of peatland ecosystems to buffer increasing nitrogen deposition Mires and Peat 11: Article 5.

Southon, G. E., Field, C., Caporn, S.J.M., Britton, A.J., and Power, S.A. (2013). "Nitrogen Deposition Reduces Plant Diversity and Alters Ecosystem Functioning: Field-Scale Evidence from a Nationwide Survey of UK Heathlands." PLoS ONE 8(4): e59031.

Sheppard, L. J. , Leith, I. D. , Leeson, S. R., Dijk, N. van, Field, C. and P. Levy. (2013). Fate of N in a peatland, Whim bog: N immobilisation in the vegetation and peat, leakage into pore water and losses as N2O depend on the form of N. Biogeosciences, 10, 1-12. doi:10.5194/bg-10-149-2013

Hall, J., Field, C., Stevens, C., Leith, I., Sheppard, L., Caporn, S., and Sutton, M. (2012). Air Quality Risk Assessment and SSSI Survey project: To refine the understanding of air quality risk assessments (based on modelling) and site specific responses to atmospheric ammonia pollution. Draft report to Natural England, itt_183-23875.

Payne RJ, Thompson AM, Standen V, Field CD, Caporn SJM (2012). Impact of simulated nitrogen pollution on heathland microfauna, mesofauna and plants. European Journal of Soil Biology. doi:10.1016/j.ejsobi.2011.08.003

Carter, M.S., Larsen, K.S., Christensen, T.R., Estiarte, M., Field, C.D., Leith, I.D., Lund, M., Meijide, A., Mills, R.T., Niinemets, Ü., Peñuelas, J., Portillo-Estrada, M., Schmidt, I.K., Selsted, M.B., Sheppard, L.J., Smith, A.R., Sowerby, A., Tietema, A.and Beier, C. (2012). Synthesizing greenhouse gas fluxes across nine European peatlands and shrublands – responses to climatic and environmental changes. Bio geosciences, 9, 3739-3755 doi:10.5194/bg-9-3739-2012

Caporn, S., Field, C., Payne, R., Dise, N., Britton, A., Emmett, B., Jones, L., Phoenix, G., Power, S., Sheppard, L., Stevens, C. (2011). Assessing the effects of small increments of atmospheric nitrogen deposition (above the critical load) on semi-natural habitats of conservation importance. Report to Natural England, contract SN218

Phoenix GK, Emmett BA, Britton AJ, Caporn SJM, Dise NB, Helliwell R, Jones MLM, Leake JR, Leith ID, Sheppard LJ, Sowerby A, Pilkington MG, Rowe EC, Ashmore MR, Power SA (2011). Impacts of atmospheric nitrogen deposition: responses of multiple plant and soil parameters across contrasting ecosystems in long-term field experiments. Global Change Biology, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2011.02590.x

Sen R, Elliott D, Nwaishi F, Smith G, Caporn S (2011). Impacts of moorland restoration on diversity and distribution of plant growth promoting root symbiotic mycorrhizal fungi and associated soil nitrogen cycling bacteria/archael communities in the southern Pennines. Research Report to Moors for the Future, Peak District National Park, Edale. Derbyshire. March 2011.

Caporn, S.J.M, Dise, N.B.D., Britton, A., Emmett, B., Field, C., Jones, L., Phoenix, G., Power, S., Sheppard, L. (2010). Terrestrial Umbrella Work Package 3 Final Report: Indicators of N deposition and its ecological impact. in Emmett et al (2010).  Effects of eutrophication and acidification on terrestrial ecosystems. Final Report (2010) NERC-Defra Terrestrial Umbrella

Edmondson JL, Carroll JA ,Price EAC and Caporn SJM 2010. Bio-indicators of nitrogen pollution in heather moorland. Science of the Total Environment, 408 (24) 6202-6209.

Hinde S, Rosenburgh A, Wright N, Buckler M & Caporn S. 2010 Sphagnum re-introduction project: A report on research into the re-introduction of Sphagnum mosses to degraded moorland. Moors for the Future Research Report No. 18, Edale, Derbyshire.

Caporn, S.J.M, and Emmett, B.A. 2009. Threats from air pollution and climate change to upland systems: past, present and future. In: Drivers of Environmental change in Uplands. Eds: Aletta Bonn, Tim Allott, Klaus Hubacek and Jon Stewart, pp 34-58. Abingdon, Routledge.

Dise, N.B. 2009. Peatland response to global change. Science 326: 810-811.

Evans CD, Goodale CL, Caporn SJM, Dise NB, Emmett BA, Fernandez IJ, Field, CD, Findlay SEG, Lovett GM, Meesenburg H, Moldan F, Sheppard LJ. (2008) Does elevated nitrogen deposition or ecosystem recovery from acidification drive increased dissolved organic carbon loss from upland soil? A review of evidence from field nitrogen addition experiments. Biogeochemistry 91, 13-35. Doi: 10.1007/s10533-008-9256-x

Pilkington M.G., Caporn S.J.M., Carroll J.A., Cresswell N., Lee J.A., Ashenden T.W., Brittain S.A., Reynolds B. and Emmett B.A. (2005) Effects of increased deposition of atmospheric nitrogen on an upland moor: leaching of N species and soil solution chemistry. Environmental Pollution 135, 29-40

Partners and people


Moors for the Future


Natural England Restoration of Bolton Fell Moss

Greater Manchester Wetlands


Dr Simon Caporn

Reader in Ecology & Environmental Science

Dr Chris Field

Post Doctoral Research Ecologist and Programme Support Tutor