Action: Install boardwalks/paths to prevent trampling
Key messagesRead our guidance on Key messages before continuing
- We found no studies that evaluated the effects, on peatland vegetation, of installing boardwalks to prevent trampling.
‘We found no studies’ means that we have not yet found any studies that have directly evaluated this action during our systematic journal and report searches. Therefore we have been unable to assess whether or not the action is effective or has any harmful impacts. Please get in touch if you know of such a study for this action.
Walking on peatlands can damage the vegetation and compress or erode the peat. Pedestrians are a particular problem when they repeatedly walk on the same area of peatland e.g. in popular hiking areas, in tourist sites/nature reserves, or when scientists repeatedly visit sample plots (Edwards 1977). Installing boardwalks or designated paths can prevent physical contact with the peatland – assuming people stay on the boardwalks.
Caution: Preservatives leaching from timber may damage peatland vegetation. Boardwalks will also shade and kill the vegetation beneath. Paths can compress peat and alter water flow patterns, above and below the peatland surface.
Key peatland types where this action may be appropriate: bogs, fens/fen meadows, tropical peat swamps.
Edwards I.J. (1977) The ecological impact of pedestrian traffic on alpine vegetation in Kosciusko National Park. Australian Forestry, 40, 108–120.