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GRANTS WILL FUND VITAL RESEARCH

This is an archived press release

Friday 20 February 2004

20 February 2004

GRANTS WILL FUND VITAL RESEARCH

Issued by the Moors for the Future Partnership

A total of £10,000 in grants has been awarded to fund research that will contribute to the vital work of the Moors for the Future partnership, one of the country's largest conservation projects.

The partnership has awarded the funding to six university research projects, which will focus on key areas of the project's work and help build up a library of important data.

Moors for the Future is an ambitious five-year programme that began in 2002. It is aiming to regenerate 3.5sq kilometres of moorland in the northern areas of the Peak District National Park, benefiting internationally important wildlife, enhancing the experience of visitors and improving opportunities for traditional uses such as agriculture.

The research projects to receive the funding represent a wide range of universities and disciplines, and they will form part of MSc, PhD and postdoctoral research. They are:

Visitor responsibility and the environment, Derby University: Prof. David Crouch. This interview-based project will identify users' knowledge and understanding of the moorland environment. This will allow Moors for the Future to develop a 'Moor Care Initiative' campaign to raise public awareness of moorland issues such as fires and to encourage greater care.

Biomonitors of nitrogen pollution in upland heaths of the Peak District, Manchester Metropolitan University: Dr Simon Caporn. Plants and soil are damaged by atmospheric nitrogen pollution. This project will use plant and soil properties to identify when, how and what effects nitrogen pollution has on the moorlands.

An assessment of changes in moorland erosion and sediment delivery following gully blocking on upland blanket peat, Nottingham Trent University: Dr. Jill Labadz. Peat erosion is a huge problem on upland moors. In order to mitigate this problem, water channels have been blocked in an attempt to reduce the amount of peat being washed away. This project will monitor the effects of these 'gully blocks'.

Flux of heavy metal pollution from eroding south Pennine peatlands, Manchester University: Dr. Martin Evans. Pollution derived from the combustion of fossil fuels during the Industrial Revolution has left a legacy of pollution (especially lead) in the peat soils of the Peak District moorlands. This project will identify the risks these pollutants pose to aquatic species.

Ecological and critical load evaluation of the Peak District moorland stream network, Manchester University: Dr. Tim Allott. This project will monitor the extent of pollutants in moorland streams and how they affect aquatic ecosystems.

A history of burning as a management tool in the Peak District National Park, Cranfield University: Dr. Graham Thomas. A common management technique used on the Peak District heather moorlands, the scale and intensity of current burning practice as well as an historical assessment of changes historically will be studied. This information can inform future management decisions with regards to moorland management.

Lynn Crowe, Chair of Moors for the Future Partnership, said: "We are very pleased to award these grants. They will help support research that will contribute to our knowledge of these special places and help guide future restoration work. The Project received many grant applications and it was extremely hard to choose the six to receive the funding. However, we hope to provide additional grants next year."

This is an archived press release

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