SoNaRR2020: Mountain, moorland and heath

This chapter assesses the progress towards the sustainable management of natural resources in the mountains, moorland and heath ecosystems

Mountains, moorlands and heaths (MMH) contain most of the iconic habitats of the Welsh uplands, including:

  • Dwarf shrub-heath
  • Inland cliff and ledge habitats
  • Blanket bog
  • Flush and fen
  • Native woodland and wood-pasture (on the ffridd/fringe) on steep ground, cliffs and gorges

This ecosystem also includes:

  • Lowland peatland
  • Lowland heathland

This ecosystem provides key benefits including carbon storage, flood mitigation, food, fibre and some of Wales's most iconic species and landscapes.

The majority of MMH ecosystems occur in the uplands, the land lying above the upper limit of enclosure. This upland part of the ecosystem accounts for 19.3% of the Welsh land making it the largest continuous block of habitat. It includes large areas of acid grassland much of it resulting from overgrazing of heath and bog.

In contrast, the lowland peatlands and heathlands are frequently small, highly fragmented and impacted by neighbouring land uses. Decline in traditional grazing and other management practices are often apparent and lead to loss of valued features.

Problems are compounded in both upland and lowland MMH by aerial and groundwater pollution with high levels of reactive nitrogen.

What's available now

The headline messages, through the pressures, impacts and opportunities for action are summarised in the appropriate natural resource register.

What's coming in March 2021

The full chapter will follow in March 2021.

The chapter will outline the pressures which have caused the poor condition of much of this ecosystem and the need for change to address future challenges. It will suggest actions to address the sustainability and resilience of the MMH ecosystem.

A description of additional evidence needed for the assessment will also be published.