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For peat's sake

The RSPB are working to restore and protect the UK's precious peatland

27-02-2013 | The UK’s ancient peat landscapes are a repository for vast amounts of carbon - an estimated 3.2 billion tonnes, double that found in all of Britain’s forests combined. Yet these globally rare habitats are being damaged on a massive scale, causing the disappearance of spectacular wildlife and release of carbon into the atmosphere.

During the 1970s and 80s, ill-advised tax incentives resulted in wide-scale planting of non-native conifers across vast tracts of Scotland’s ‘Flow Country’ - the world’s single largest remaining expanse of peat bog. These trees are quite literally sucking the life out of the bogs, causing huge damage to its peat carbon store and wildlife. If this continues unchecked, the sheer scale of carbon loss cannot be underestimated. A loss of just 5% of UK peatland carbon resource would equate to the total annual UK human greenhouse gas emissions.

Forsinard Flows

At the heart of the Flow Country lies RSPB Forsinard Flows nature reserve, where the charity’s pioneering restoration work has been at the forefront of reversing this peatland damage, through a programme of tree removal and drain blocking. Triodos Bank has recently joined forces with the RSPB to support their fight against this environmental injustice. RSPB’s work to date shows visible results, with native flora regenerating at an impressive speed and the return of rare wildlife. But there’s still much to do and it’s a race against time. If the non-native trees remain, the damage they do to the peatland accelerates.

Visit RSPB’s website to see how you can support their work to restore and protect the Flow Country: www.rspb.org.uk/forsinard

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