Restoring our disappearing peatlands

Barry White

While peat bogs in the north of England are rapidly declining, the situation in North Yorkshire is bucking that trend. According to a recent report in The Observer on 12 September – For peat’s sake: the race is on to save Britain’s disappearing moorland bogs it is estimated the Yorkshire Peat Partnership with the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust have already saved 48m tonnes of carbon from being released into the atmosphere through peat degradation.

The article highlights a report by Dr Emma Shuttleworth and her colleagues at the University of Manchester which found that restoring peatland in one area reduced the peak volume of water flowing off the moorland by 57% and made it three times slower. But this is not just about flooding – peat is one of the world’s most effective forms of natural carbon capture.

Dr Shuttleworth, a lecturer in physical geography, said: “Peatland restoration is about multiple benefits, it’s not just about the flood control, it’s not just about the ecosystem recovery, it’s not just about the carbon. So, to me, it’s a bit of a no brainer to invest in peatland restoration.”

Some of the peat is up to 8,000 years old and when putting in the dams, contractors found a perfectly preserved tree trunk, which was carbon-dated to 4,000 years ago, likely part of an ancient forest effectively pickled by the acidic peat.

You can read the full article by Robyn Vinter on The Guardian’s web site at:

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