Getting on with fen management


Fens are magical places that bring together nature and generations of historic human activity. They are important both in terms of landscape and nature conservationClaife Tarns and Mires, Cumbria © Iain Diack and are home to a wide range of plants and animals.  They also provide of a range of ecosystem services, such as flood control.


Fens are at high risk from inappropriate management and vulnerable pollution. They are threatened by climate change; areas of wetland, including areas of fen, are already being lost along the east coast of England.


Members of the Lowland Wetland Lead Coordination Network (the LCN - which comprises members from the four UK country conservation bodies and the JNCC) recognised that, currently, there is a lot less management guidance available for fens than is available for other wetland habitats such as bogs, wet grasslands and reedbeds. The information available is also widely dispersed and not always easy to understand at a practical level.


Together with representatives from the RPSB, the Environment Agency and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, the members of the Lowland Wetland LCN formed a steering group, to oversee the production of The Fen Management Handbook. The Handbook will cover a range of topics including fen plants and animals, hydrology, fen management, restoration, creation and monitoring.  Also included are sections on people and fens which includes managing fens for people’s enjoyment as well as economic benefits well-managed fens can bring.


The Handbook is intended to provide guidance for those are involved in management or re-creation. The implementation of both national and international drivers such as Biodiversity Action Plans, agri-environment schemes, the  Water Framework Directive and the Habitats Directive, is requiring an increased understanding of wetlands, including fens, by those working in nature conservation, which the Handbook is hoping to provide.


The final product will be a web-based publication. It is hoped that this version, hosted by JNCC, will be available by early summer 2010.


Margaret Street and Vicky Morgan

Lowland Wetland LCN Officer and Senior Habitats Adviser

Tel: +44 (0) 1733 866830