We have completed peatland restoration work on a 7.5ha area of raised bog at Bankhead Moss Wildlife Reserve in Fife, with the aim of reinstating a high water table that in turn will stimulate active growth of sphagnum mosses – the building blocks of peatland.
An uncommon habitat in this part of the country, Bankhead Moss has peat that is almost eight metres deep in places. Unfortunately, over time, the surface of the bog has dried out, allowing birch scrub to get a toe-hold – tree growth that accelerates the drying out of peat.
Trust volunteers have made a valiant effort to clear this scrub, while the Trust’s Flying Flock of sheep has been used to great effect to browse the young birch leaves each spring.
Despite this, more work was needed to ensure the peat was wet and healthy, and therefore sequester carbon, rather than continuing to dry out and potentially release its accumulation of stored carbon back into the atmosphere.
Funded through NatureScot’s Peatland Action Fund, the project involved a combination of removing existing birch and Scots pine regeneration, reprofiling degraded areas, blocking ditches with peat dams and, crucially, digging a deep trench bund and numerous cell bunds – essentially natural retaining walls that hold in water.
“By making the site wetter we will discourage the invading scrub and encourage sphagnum and other raised bog specialists,” explained Rory Sandison, former Trust’s Reserve Manager for East of Scotland. “The bunding and peat dams will plug any cracks and holes in the peat that have enabled water to escape.
“While the project has only just finished, we are already seeing water collecting in the cell bunds. Although there is more work still to do, with the valued help of volunteers Bankhead now has every chance of improving its condition.”
Find out more about the importance of Scotland’s peatland.
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We have completed peatland restoration work on a 7.5ha area of raised bog at Bankhead Moss Wildlife Reserve in Fife, with the aim of reinstating a high water table that …