Mountains, moorlands and heaths (MMH) contain most of the iconic habitats of the Welsh uplands, including:

  • Dwarf shrub-heath
  • Inland cliff and ledge habitats
  • Blanket bog
  • Flush and fen
  • Native woodland and wood-pasture (on the ffridd/fringe) on steep ground, cliffs and gorges

This ecosystem also includes:

  • Lowland peatland
  • Lowland heathland

This ecosystem provides key benefits including carbon storage, flood mitigation, food, fibre and some of Wales's most iconic species and landscapes.

The majority of MMH ecosystems occur in the uplands, the land lying above the upper limit of enclosure. This upland part of the ecosystem accounts for 19.3% of the Welsh land making it the largest continuous block of habitat. It includes large areas of acid grassland much of it resulting from overgrazing of heath and bog.

In contrast, the lowland peatlands and heathlands are frequently small, highly fragmented and impacted by neighbouring land uses. Decline in traditional grazing and other management practices are often apparent and lead to loss of valued features.

Problems are compounded in both upland and lowland MMH by aerial and groundwater pollution with high levels of reactive nitrogen.

Our assessment

Download the SoNaRR2020: Mountains, moorlands and heaths chapter (PDF)

The chapter outlines the pressures which have caused the poor condition of much of this ecosystem and the need for change to address future challenges. It suggests actions to address the sustainability and resilience of the MMH ecosystem.

The Mountains, moorlands and heaths chapter's evidence needs are included in the overall evidence needs table.

Related downloads

Related data, maps and reports that underpin SoNaRR 2020

Explore more

Last updated