Esri’s digital mapping system enables Bord na Móna to rehabilitate precious peatland ecosystems

Esri Ireland, the market leader in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), has announced that its digital mapping system is being used by Bord na Móna to restore and rehabilitate 33,000 hectares of peatlands over a five year period.

Bord na Móna is a climate solutions semi-state body helping Ireland to achieve a net carbon zero future. Now that commercial peat extraction has ceased, the organisation is leading the way in restoring and rehabilitating precious peatland ecosystems. Having previously worked with Esri Ireland on other projects, Bord na Móna is now using Esri’s ArcGIS system to support and optimise its rehabilitation efforts.

Bord na Móna is currently planning or implementing rehabilitation schemes on 19 sites annually throughout Ireland. Using Esri’s digital mapping capabilities, its ecologists can analyse and examine the ground level to identify which rehabilitation measures are most appropriate on different areas of bogland. This enables them to devise specific map-based solutions such as drain-blocking or bunding to optimise hydrological conditions to re-wet peat and restore peatland function.

Through their collaboration, Esri Ireland has helped Bord na Móna transform their rehabilitation operations, as all employees have access to real-time information on a central system which saves time, helps to improve workflows, and allows constant updating. ArcGIS Online dashboards provide greater visibility on the progress of all projects, wherever they are happening in Ireland. Teams can also use the dashboards to generate automated, accurate reports for stakeholders, such as the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications, and the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

The technology also enables effective working in remote, wild landscapes, as apps can be used in the field to capture data. This eliminates the need for paper use and improves the accuracy of data collection. In areas with little or no mobile coverage, maps can be downloaded to mobile devices and updates synchronised later.

Michael Lenihan, GIS Manager, Bord na Móna said: “ArcGIS is engrained in our bog rehabilitation process. Using ArcGIS, we can quickly visualise the existing conditions across thousands of hectares of bogs using numerous datasets and design and implement the most appropriate rehabilitation measures to restore peatland function and deliver climate action benefits. 

“With ArcGIS Online, everyone sees the most up-to-date plans, whether they are working in the office or in a bog, and this helps to ensure that ecology plans are carried out as intended. Without the dashboards, we would have to spend a lot of time producing PDF maps and reports. Instead, we can output progress data in a matter of minutes.” 

Phil McLaughlin, Client Manager, Esri Ireland: “Having worked extensively with Bord na Móna, they knew that we were the natural fit to deliver on this next stage in their journey. Esri’s technology has provided the organisation with an effective way of analysing, capturing and storing data to help them renew and rehabilitate our precious peatlands. It is already starting to deliver very positive results supporting Ireland’s ambitious climate goals and protecting our rich biodiversity.

“We look forward to continuing to strengthen our relationship with Bord na Móna as it carries out this vital work.”

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