What is the impact of this research?
At the global scale, Lindsay's expertise has been instrumental in bringing about a wider appreciation and preservation of peatlands and stimulated change within areas as diverse as the use of peat in gardening, the managed burning of blanket bog moorlands, the impact of conventional agriculture on peat soils, and the recognition by authorities both at home and abroad of formerly overlooked peatland habitats.
At a national scale, Lindsay has provided expert evidence for both Natural England and Scottish Natural Heritage in relation to specific peatland sites resulting in improved environmental conditions and/or improved understanding of land-use impacts on these sites, achieving major government savings.
Lindsay's research continues to influence decision making. Lindsay's 2004 report on the Derrybrien peatslide caused by windfarm development is widely cited, including by the Scottish Government guidance on assessing peatslide risk and continues to inform rulings of the European Court of Justice, and has brought about changes in policy thinking about the importance of shallow peat in both the UK and internationally.
Publication of the UN-led IPBES Assessment Report on Land Degradation and Restoration, and the drafting of Resolution 43 adopted at the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress has stimulated global governmental recognition of the need for action to halt ongoing degradation and urgently initiate restoration of peatlands. This work continues at an international level through Lindsay's active membership of both the UN FAO Restoration Monitoring Task Force and the Ramsar Convention Restoration Task Force, and at a domestic level through Lindsay’s membership of Defra's Lowland Peat Task Force.
There is increasing acknowledgement that conventional farming on peat soils is unsustainable while management practices on upland blanket mires have led to widespread degradation. Lindsay works with several partners, including the SME Micropropagation Services, ADAS and Defra, to develop sustainable ways forward for both upland and lowland practices.
This work has enabled Micropropagation Services to expand and improve business opportunities in both upland restoration and lowland agriculture sectors. Lindsey provides advice about the benefits of such initiatives to policy-making bodies such as Defra and the UK Committee for Climate Change, as is on the Defra-funded Peat Pilots Projects Steering Committee.
Most recently, Lindsay worked with UN Environment Programme to develop a Peatland Pavilion for COP 26, having produced a global assessment of peatlands for the UN-led Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Assessment of Land Degradation and Restoration.