Sajjad Ahmad

Sajjad Ahmad

Ph.D. Student

Project Title: Modelling the hydrogeology of former lowland production bog for the purposes of engineering restoration design

Keywords: Hydrology, Hydrogeology, Modelling, bogs, groundwater, Geotechnical soil testing, Bund cells, Drainage, numerical modelling, climate change, 

Since peatlands cover around 20 % of the land area in the Republic of Ireland, their management is of particular significance in reducing national greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions. 

Of particular significance is the occurrence of ‘raised bogs’, which are recognised as being of national and international conservation importance. Raised bogs have disappeared almost entirely in Western Europe due to land reclamation for agriculture, fuel production and population growth. There are no intact raised bogs remaining in Ireland, with all bogs having undergone varying degrees of ‘damage’ due to human interference.

The aim of the research is to develop hydrological models of the ongoing peatland restoration activities of Bord na Mona’s Peatlands Climate Action Scheme (PCAS), to assess its success as a method to initiate carbon sequestration.

There has been much research in recent years in measuring greenhouse gas emissions from peatlands in Ireland as well as investigations into the ecohydrology that supports the growth and development of peat forming sphagnum communities. However, engineering a sustainable method to rewet the vast barren tracts of degraded bogs left where most of the peat has been stripped away is challenging, and complicated by diverse hydrogeological controlling environments.

This project will evaluate different engineered solutions being constructed as part of Peatlands Climate Action Scheme (PCAS) (such as bunded cells and drain blocking) on several former production bog sites and gather key field data from which hydrological and geotechnical models can be developed. Research outcomes will be used to gain further insights into the likely long-term performance of the restoration with respect to the attaining the appropriate ecohydrological conditions for sustained peat forming growth. The models will be used to test alternative designs / modifications for the restoration activities as well as opportunities for other potential economic activities.

The research is conducted within the framework of the Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences (ICRAG, Funding is granted by the private sector as well as public institutions under the SFI Research Centres Programme.

 Supervisor: Dr. Laurence Gill