Restoring peatlands to fight climate change
Healthy peatlands play a vital role in tackling climate change
New advice is being offered to farmers to help them access funding to protect and restore peatlands.
The Farm Advisory Service, funded by the Scottish Government, is providing advice to help farmers navigate through restoration projects and tap into carbon credits.
Healthy peatlands play a vital role in tackling climate change by locking in massive amounts of carbon. Formed over thousands of years when waterlogged conditions prevent organic matter from decomposing, they make up over 20 per cent of Scottish soils and store a massive 1.7 billion tonnes of carbon.
However, around 80 per cent of Scotland’s peatlands are degraded, releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Degraded peatlands can be restored by covering areas of bare peat with matting and sphagnum moss plugs, as well as ‘rewetting’ – raising the water level through blocking drainage channels and removing trees and scrub.
Restoring peatlands is critical to meeting Scotland’s target of net zero emissions by 2045.
The new guidance available on the fas.scot website provides information on the different types of peatlands, how to recognise if they are degraded and steps to take to restore them.
Farmers can receive funding to help cover the cost of restoration projects from bodies such as NatureScot’s Peatland ACTION fund. Funding can also be combined with the IUCN Peatland Code which allows eligible verified projects to sell carbon credits from the restoration.
Dr Lorna Cole, senior ecologist at SAC Consulting - part of Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), teamed up with peatland experts from the East Ayrshire Coalfield Environment Initiative to produce the new guidance.
She said: “How we view peatlands is changing. Instead of difficult to manage boggy bits, we are recognising peatlands for the wide range of benefits they provide. With emerging carbon markets, peatlands could be viewed as black gold.”
For more information, visit: www.fas.scot/environment/biodiversity/protecting-scotlands-peatlands/
Posted by SRUC on 08/02/2023