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School of Geography

Alice Noble Alice Noble

Contact details

Room 10.11 Garstang
School of Geography
University of Leeds
University Road
Leeds LS2 9JT   UK


+44 (0) 113 34 30702

Project title

Understanding plant-soil feedback effects impacted by peatland fire

Project overview

Prescribed vegetation burning continues to be a common practice on peatlands globally. In some countries burning is done for wildfire control and in others to create an environment suitable for certain animals such as deer, sheep or in the UK uplands for grouse which alone generates around £90M in the rural economy per year. However, there is concern about economic losses associated with loss of peat-forming moss communities which help take carbon out of the atmosphere & lock it into the landscape as peat. Such damage contributes to economic losses associated with reduced biodiversity, poor water quality & peatland decay. The UK, for example, could face legal action or fines from the EU due to non-compliance with the Habitats Directive or Water Framework Directive.


This project, in collaboration with Natural England as a regulatory and conservation body, aims to understand the feedbacks between soil water and mosses that are influenced by prescribed vegetation burning in peatlands.


Research Affiliations


  • NERC CASE studentship with Natural England


  • 2013-2014: MSc Ecological Consultancy, University of Newcastle upon Tyne
  • 2008-2012: BSc (Hons.) Conservation Biology, University of Aberdeen


Noble A, Palmer SM, Glaves DJ, Crowle A, Brown LE, Holden J (2017) Prescribed burning, atmospheric pollution and grazing effects on peatland vegetation composition. Journal of Applied Ecology

Noble A, Palmer SM, Glaves DJ, Crowle A, Holden J (2017) Impacts of peat bulk density, ash deposition and rainwater chemistry on establishment of peatland mosses. Plant and Soil 419(41)

Bacon KL, Baird AJ, Blundell A, Bourgault M-A, Chapman PJ, Dargie G, Dooling GP, Gee C, Holden J, Kelly T, McKendrick-Smith KA, Morris PJ, Noble A, Palmer SM, Quillet A, Swindles GT, Watson EJ, Young DM (2017) Questioning ten common assumptions about peatlands. Mires and Peat 19(12) 1-23