This conference paper examines the role of soil moisture and drainage in controlling the abundance of cranelfy populations in UK blanket bog ecosystems. Cranefly larvae experience high mortality under drought conditions, meaning that any process leading to peatlands becoming drier could drive declines in this key prey item. Therefore, extensive drainage ditch networks dug into British blanket bogs during the 20th century and the risk of warmer, drier conditions under climate change could threaten both cranefly and breeding bird populations . However,  ongoing programmes of drain blocking for peatland restoration could provide an opportunity to reduce drainage impacts and, potentially, ameliorate future climate change impacts.

Read the paper on the British Ornithologist’s Union website