PEATLAND WATERCOURSE ANALYSIS

Using elevation data from a DTM, we can generate polyline shapefiles to display the most significant water courses across an area of land.

With environmental concerns belatedly taking a centre-stage position in global politics, there have been renewed calls for governments and private companies alike to find new mechanisms for combatting the existential threat of climate change.


Although the UK may be a small island nation, we are famously a very green one: home to locations of iconic natural beauty and vast swathes of agricultural land, as well as a field of increasing environmental interest. Gravely lacking in the glamour and commercial intrigue of other habitats, recent studies of the UK's peatlands have shown their environmental value to have been historically grossly underestimated. One such 2019 study found that the estimated amount of carbon stored in the UK's peatlands could be double that of previous estimates, with the peatlands of Scotland, Northern England and Wales alone locking away over 1,000 Gt of carbon. With these crucial areas lacking in commercial value, however, land managers have historically attempted to adapt their use through artificial peatland draining.

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Such areas rely on wet conditions to maintain a balanced biodiversity and healthy plant life, which in turn increases the carbon storage capacity. Introducing an artificial drainage system to the area disrupts this balance, but studies have shown the effects can be reversed with the practise of drainage-blocking, and this is where Artio comes in.

Through the use of photogrammetry, we can generate a Digital Terrain Map (DTM) that displays the elevation data of the area. We can then use GIS to interpret this data to assess and clearly display the most significant watercourse flowpaths in the area, which can then be taken to a hydrologist for suggested locations and strategies for drainage blockages.

The process we use involves a Strahler Order calculation, which is most suitable for larger, relatively undisturbed areas of land. The calculation basically determines "if an even amount of precipitation falls across the area, where would gravity naturally lead the water to run and gather"?

We display results of a test example below:

Peatland Watercourse Analysis Portfolio Examples: