"Dank, Ancient And Quite Fantastic: Scotland’s Peat Bogs Breathe Again"

"Researchers are using satellite technology to monitor the health of these vital carbon sinks and help restore them".

"Flanders Moss bog is slumped on the flat, farmed landscape of the Carse of Stirling in Scotland like a jelly fungi. It wobbles when you walk on it, and a metal pole goes down eight metres before reaching hard ground. This lowland-raised bog is a dome of peat fed mainly by rainfall and it acts like a single organism – the whole thing has to be looked after for any part to be in really good shape. If it is drained in one area it will affect the water level across the entire bog.

For much of human history peat bogs have been thought of as wastelands. This 860-hectare (2,125-acre) site has been hacked away and drained since the early 1800s to make space for fertile farmland below. It is about 60% of its original size. Bogs scar easily and the drainage ditches made more than 100 years ago are still visible.

It is now recognised that peat bogs are among the greatest stores of carbon and, after decades of restoration, the holes in the peat at Flanders Moss have been patched up. Areas that used to be purple with heather are turning green as key bog plants such as sphagnum (peat moss) and cottongrass come back. The bog rises out of the land like a sponge and “breathes” as changes in the weather and water level cause it to swell and contract."

Phoebe Weston reports for the Guardian January 4, 2022.

Source: Guardian, 01/10/2022