16 Nov 2011:
Restoration of UK Peatlands
Is Advocated by Conservation Group
The UK’s extensive peatlands and peatbogs must be protected and restored
to avoid large-scale releases of carbon dioxide and to protect water supplies, according to a new study by the International Union for
the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The report said that 80 percent of the peatbogs in Britain, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and islands such as the Hebrides have been damaged by overgrazing, burning, draining, or extraction for peat moss. These peatlands — up to 40 feet thick in places — store an estimated 3 billion tons of carbon dioxide, far more carbon than is stored in UK forests. Noting that the loss of only 5 percent of the 10,000 square miles of peatland in the UK would equal the UK’s entire annual carbon emissions, the IUCN said that governments should begin restoring drained and dried peat bogs by refilling them with water and should impose far tougher controls on the use of peatlands for agriculture or development. The IUCN’s report comes at a time when conservation groups worldwide are placing a greater emphasis on preserving peat ecosystems.
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