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Fenland SOIL are pleased to announce that we have secured funding from the Natural England Paludiculture Exploration Fund (PEF) with a grant of £450,000 to run until April 2025. Fenland SOIL is an East Cambridgeshire based not for profit members’ organisation that aims to inform and develop ‘whole farm’ land use policies, aimed at achieving climate change mitigation and biodiversity enhancement in the Fens, and to help establish an agreed set of numbers for Green House Gas (GHG) emissions for deep, shallow and wasted peat soils.
Paludiculture, or farming on rewetted peat, is a system of agriculture for the profitable production of wetland crops under conditions that support the competitive advantage of these crops. In the context of lowland peat soils it is most usually achieved through raising of the water table to achieve wetland conditions.
The Paludiculture Exploration Fund, grant scheme is managed and delivered by Natural England and is open to projects focused on tackling the barriers to developing commercially viable paludiculture on lowland peat soils in England.
Maintaining water levels just below the soil surface (between 10 and 30 centimetres) ensures emissions from peat soils are kept to a minimum and offers opportunities for growing new crops suited to wetter growing conditions.
Over 80 potential crops have been identified in the DEFRA review ‘An Assessment of the potential for paludiculture in England and Wales’, and paludiculture has been identified as a potential option to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from lowland peat soils whilst still maintaining agricultural production.