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Charity works with Ayrshire Farmer to restore precious peatlands

Date: 12 Feb 2018

The East Ayrshire Coalfield Environment Initiative (CEI) is delighted to have rounded off 2017 with the completion of a new phase of peatland habitat enhancement at a farm near Cumnock, East Ayrshire. This brings the area of peatland enhanced by the CEI within the East Ayrshire Coalfields to 479 hectares!

Between November and December 2017, habitat enhancement works were carried out on three areas of peatland at the farm by specialist contractors. The work was designed to complement the landowner’s own land management scheme.

The enhancement work included ditch-blocking using peat dams, installation of bunds to hold water, targeted tree felling, scrub control and rush cutting. The aim of the work was to slow water loss, raise and stabilise the water table across the bog and to support the growth of water-loving Sphagnum moss, which is the main peat-building plant. Sphagnum moss is able to mop up carbon from the atmosphere as it grows which is then locked away in the layers of peat, contributing to the fight against climate change. Restoring peatlands also contributes to natural flood water management and provides a haven for wildlife such as black grouse, hen harrier and many species of invertebrates.

The CEI’s work to restore degraded peatland across the Coalfields will help deliver the ambitions of Scotland’s Climate Change Plan to restore 50,000 hectares of degraded peatland by 2020.

CEI Project Manager, Daisy Whytock, said “this is the first time the CEI have worked with a local farmer to carry out a peatland enhancement project. It has been a positive experience and we have worked together with the farmer and contractors to balance the CEI’s objectives with that of the farm business.”

The CEI would like to hear from anyone who is interested in helping monitor its peatland enhancement sites to ensure the habitat’s health in the longer term, and create a special place for wildlife. Contact CEI Project Officer, Gemma, on 01563 576771 or at gemma.jennings@ea-cei.org.uk if you would like to find out more or are interested in becoming a CEI volunteer.