Bluesky Aerial Photos Help South Pennines Moor Conservation
Bluesky has supplied high resolution aerial photography for a major conservation project to protect and transform moorlands in northern England. Purchased by The Moors for the Future Partnership, as part of the €16 million MoorLIFE 2020 project, the Bluesky photography provides a bird’s eye view of the area, reducing the need for site visits. The imagery helps identify areas in need of attention, and is used to accurately estimate quantities of materials needed for works.
MoorLIFE 2020 aims to improve the ecological condition of 95 sq km of blanket bog in the South Pennines Special Area of Conservation, and reduce its susceptibility to wildfire through re-vegetating bare peat, improving hydrology and diversifying existing vegetation. Co-financed by Severn Trent Water, Yorkshire Water and United Utilities, MoorLIFE 2020 also received €12 million of funding from the EU Life programme, the largest ever to a UK nature conservation project at the time.
“To achieve the project aim, the funding will be spent on ambitious conservation works, extensive scientific monitoring and research, together with a programme of public and stakeholder engagement,” commented Rebecca Cassidy from the Moors for the Future Partnership. “As most of the work is done across wide expanses of rugged moorland, aerial surveys are an effective way to evaluate these areas at scale, and quality imagery is vital.”
Using the Bluesky aerial photography within the Partnership’s desktop Geographical Information Systems (GIS), staff have been able to identify and map areas of eroding bare peat and different types and densities of vegetation. This information can be used to inform future works, saving time on the ground and potentially saving money by reducing the risk of over- or under-ordering materials needed in the field.
The Moors for the Future Partnership is led by the Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA), and has been working since 2003 to protect the most degraded landscape in Europe. Using innovative conservation techniques, it has transformed more than 32 sq km of black degraded peat in the National Park and South Pennines. A monitoring programme provides evidence of the effectiveness of techniques used and is backed up by innovative communications.
The work of the partnership is delivered by the Moors for the Future staff team with the PDNPA as the lead and accountable body. It is supported by partners including the Environment Agency, Natural England, National Trust, RSPB, Pennine Prospects and representatives of the moorland owner and farming community.