Ten Years in Rehab, What Have We Learned in Mayo?

David Fallon, Mark McCorry, Catherine Farrell, James Moran

Proceedings of the 14th International Peat Congress



Fallon et al 2012: Ten Years in Rehab, What Have We Learned in Mayo?


Theme V. Restoration, rehabilitation and after-use of disturbed peatlands


Bord na Móna operated the industrial peat production site, at Oweninny (Bellacorick and Bangor bog areas) in County Mayo between 1961 and 2003. Milled peat was harvested from an area of over 6,500ha of former Atlantic blanket bog and supplied as energy peat to a local power station. Peat production ceased in 2003 and a large scale site specific rehabilitation plan was designed and implemented. The main aims of the rehabilitation were to ensure environmental stabilisation of the former industrial peat production area and mitigation of silt run-off.

The rehabilitation work on the cutaway was carried out between 2003 and 2005. A number of changes have occurred since the implementation of the rehabilitation plan.. The site was surveyed in 2011 in order to determine the effectiveness of the rehabilitation works. The main changes in vegetation cover and composition between 2001 and 2011 are outlined in this paper.

The vegetation on the former production areas is currently dominated by poor fen and embryonic bog communities (Sphagnum-rich habitats) with fragmentary emergence of dry heath, scrub, and areas of open water. Bare peat is still a feature in certain areas within the site, with only sparse emergence of pioneer species. The emergence of Sphagnum-rich communities indicates that there is significant potential for a considerable area of the site to revert to a peat-forming system.