On Monday I went to the launch of a rather exciting project happening right on our doorstep and led by Butterfly Conservation – Lanarkshire’s Large Heaths and Mosses. This project has been designed to help restore one of our most threatened and precious habitats. Large interconnected peatlands once covered large swathes of the lowland landscape to the northeast of Lanark. However, over time much of this has been drained and converted into pasture, stripped for peat or planted with conifers. The remaining fragments of this habitat, now termed mosses, have been left fragmented and degraded yet are still home to some of Scotland’s most threatened wildlife including the beautiful Large Heath butterfly and birds such as Curlew and Hen Harrier.
The project will focus on a cluster of peatland sites centred between the villages of Forth, Carnwath and Carstairs (Braehead Moss, Blacklaw Moss Wood, Cranley Moss, Carnwath Moss and Woodend Moss). The restoration work is aimed at re-wetting the mosses so that natural flora and fauna can thrive and peat formation can take place again in the near future. The work, which will include ditch-damming, forestry brash clearance and invasive scrub removal, will be carried out by specialist contractors and volunteers.
This work will benefit species such as the Large Heath butterfly which is only found on peatland habitats. Their range has decreased across the UK by 58% between 1976 and 2014. Recent surveys have shown that the Large Heath is hanging on in several of the mosses within the project area. How incredible it is that we have this precious habitat and amazing species so close to us! The project aims to restore these mosses which will help protect and strengthen these local colonies. If you are interested in volunteering to help with this project then visit the Bog Squad’s website where they list upcoming work parties – bogsquad.weebly.com.
Laura Preston – Falls of Clyde Ranger, Scottish Wildlife Trust
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