For peat's sake
By Taylor Wildlife, Sep 10 2018 10:00AM
Although particularly tricky to negotiate for any hillwalker, there are a number of reasons why peat bogs are the friend of the ecologist, not the enemy.
Blanket bogs are fomed when bog plants decompose very slowly, which results in the formation of a layer of peat. Scotlan'ds we and coold climate means the conditions for this slow decomposition is ideal. Around 23% of Scotland's land cover is blanket bog.
The peat layer can vary from 50 cm up to (occasionally) 8 m in depth, and this results in a varied landscape, with small hills and lochans providing habitats for a range of important flora and fauna.
Blanket bog can host several schedule 1 bird species, including capercaillie, red-throated diver, greenshank, rmerlin and hen harrier, as well as other key species such as black grouse, short-eared owl, dunlin and golden plover.
Peat is also important for a number of plant species that have adapted to the hydrological and geochemical conditions specific to these areas. These include bog asphodel, blaeberry, crowberry, heather, sundew, bogbean, cottongrasses, cloudberry and Sphagnum mosses. In addition, blanket bogs support a diverse array of invertebrate life, providing important habitats for a number of diving beetles, moths, butterflies, spiders, dragonflies and damselflies.
Many peat layers have taken an extrememly long time to form - in some cases over 5000 years. Unfortunately, around 40% of Scotland's bogs are now in an unfavourable condition. To combat this, funding is available to restore areas of peatland. To find out more about how Taylor Wildlife can help with feasibility studies, funding applications, and restoration work, please contact us.