Peatland Field Officer


Abernethy, Cairngorms

Paid • Full Time • Fixed Term Contract

Sectors: conservation & wildlife, ecology

Closing date: Sunday, 2nd June 2024  

This is an exciting opportunity to join the team at RSPB Abernethy, working to restore damaged peatland habitats across the 14,000ha of reserve land it manages. Vast swathes of important peatland habitats cover the uplands of RSPB Abernethy, of this around 1400ha of degraded peatland lies between Geal Charn in the east and Bynack More in the west. It is a remote area, mostly greater than 700 metres above sea level, set within a wider landscape of largely degraded peatland and is challenging to access with vehicles. Other, smaller restoration sites are at lower elevation, but also challenging to access. These bog woodland and raised bog sites are within the lower forest at Abernethy.

These peatland areas are of significant importance and hold a huge amount of carbon, preventing this from releasing into the atmosphere is a key climate change prevention action in addition to restoring these habitats for biodiversity.

What's the role about?

This role will work to deliver surveys on the ground and in mapping this information it will contribute to site restoration plans. These plans will form the basis of funding applications which will lead to practical restoration work commencing on the ground.

Field work will include taking peat depth measurements, protected species surveys, vegetation surveys, mapping of erosion/drainage features, ground truthing and assessing the condition of peatland areas. The role will also work closely with contractors to make sure works meet the specification set out in restoration plans. The majority of the work is in remote upland areas, accessed by four wheel drive/ ATV access and on foot. Please note that, due to the nature of the remote upland terrain and potentially harsh weather conditions, it will at times be physically demanding. Robust health and safety procedures for such work are in place. 

This role will help to successfully raise income from the carbon market to restore peatland and help address the issues facing the climate and biodiversity. In short, translating innovative green finance mechanisms into reality.

The post will be based at the Forest Lodge at RSPB Abernethy with a significant amount of time spent out in the field, sometimes in challenging conditions. Indoor-based (or non-field based) work will have the option of blended office and home-based working.

Key work areas will include:

  • Site baseline condition field surveys
  • Recording and collation of peat depth data and mapping
  • Assisting in project design (inc.GIS and drone work)
  • Assisting in delivering a community consultation through surveys and in-person workshops
  • Assisting in the development of restoration plans
  • A high level of fitness and ability to confidently and safely access and work in remote mountain areas, which can be inaccessible to vehicles, in challenging terrain and adverse weather conditions
  • Overseeing on-site works with contractors
  • Monitoring and recording outcomes of restoration 

What we need from you:


  • Experience of working to survey, protect and/or manage important sites, species or habitats
  • Knowledge of peatland ecology and habitat requirements of key species
  • Experience of working in an upland/remote environments 
  • Competent IT user, including the use of Microsoft Office and GIS software
  • An ability to communicate clearly, both written and verbally
  • Proven time management and organisational skills


  • Experience of working with contractors
  • The ability to communicate about the project in a passionate and credible manner
  • Knowledge of the wildlife and habitats of the operational area of this role
  • Knowledge relating to Peatland Code may be advantageous 
  • Drone operation experience
  • Knowledge of delivery mechanisms for peatland conservation work

Additional Information

This is a fixed-term, full-time role until March 2026. The RSPB reserves the right to extend or make this role permanent without further advertising dependent on business needs at the end of the contract term.

We are looking to conduct interviews for this position from 10th June 2024. For further information please contact [email protected]

As part of this application process you will be asked to complete an application form including evidence on how you meet the skills, knowledge, and experience listed above.

We are committed to developing an inclusive and diverse RSPB, in which everyone feels supported, valued, and able to be their full selves. To achieve our vision of creating a world richer in nature, we need more people, and more diverse people, on nature’s side. People of colour and disabled people are currently underrepresented across the environment, climate, sustainability, and conservation sector. If you identify as a person of colour and/or disabled, we are particularly interested in receiving your application. Contact us to discuss any additional support you may need to complete your application.

The RSPB is an equal opportunities employer. This role is covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

The RSPB is a licenced sponsor. This role is not eligible for UK Visa Sponsorship - the successful applicant will need to have a pre-existing Right to Work in the UK in order to be offered an employment contract.

Find out more & apply