Wild Land Management Services John Muir Trust
Soil, carbon, water
Wild land provides many ecosystem services, such as clean air and fresh water, that are essential for everyday life

The careful protection of soil and water is fundamental to wild land management – this includes the protection of peatlands, which are an important carbon store. Overgrazing and muirburn, which can damage habitats and the underlying soil, should be avoided.

Flood regulation works according to the land’s capability to absorb rainfall and release it slowly over time. The natural capability of wild land to hold water in the upper level of the catchment area is a valuable ecosystem service. Drainage or felling operations that could exacerbate flood conditions downstream should be avoided. See Ecosystem services and Biodiversity for more information.

Standards 5-7 relate to the management of soil and water

Careful stewardship of the rocks and soils on which land use depends
Light touch, minimum intervention and disturbance

Importance of peatland

Peatland is one of the most important habitats in the northern hemisphere. Deep layers of peat take thousands of years to form and provide a home for a range of plants and animals that have adapted to the acidic, waterlogged conditions. Peatlands also help to maintain good water quality and are an important store of carbon.

Down to earth

Soils are an overlooked and undervalued resource yet they underpin everything that man and all other biological life relies on. In wild land, they should be sensitively managed to prevent excessive burning, draining and trampling.