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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Major Peatland Restoration Milestone Reached

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Forestry and Land Scotland has set 10,000 hectares of peatland – on land it manages – on the road to recovery through ‘re-wetting’ sites.

This significant milestone has been reached through years of dedicated work undertaken by FLS staff and contractors working on sites across Scotland – including at Kintyre and Lochaber in the west, Carnwath and Flanders Moss in central Scotland and Skye and the globally significant Flow Country in Caithness and Sutherland in the north.  

It is estimated when fully recovered the 10,000 hectares will permanently bring about emissions savings of 87,800 tonnes of CO2 per year – the equivalent of taking about 63,000 new petrol cars in the UK off the road for a year.

Restoring peatland is an integral part of the Scottish Government’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, with a target of restoring 250,000 hectares of degraded peatland by 2030. 

Peatlands cover around two million hectares or a quarter of Scotland, and when healthy can help secure carbon stores, by changing them from sources of carbon to carbon sinks while also supporting nature, and reducing flood and fire risk.

The work forms part of the FLS Peatland Restoration Strategy with FLS a key delivery partner for NatureScot’s Peatland ACTION Project – a partnership aiming to restore tens of thousands of hectares of forest to bog and improve a similar amount of existing blanket bog to peatland.

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform and Islands, Mairi Gougeon, said:

“Peatlands are an integral part of Scotland’s cultural and natural heritage, and cover more than 20% of our country.

“When in good condition, they can help us fight climate change, support biodiversity, improve water quality and reduce the severity of flooding and fires. 

“I am proud to mark FLS hitting 10,000 hectares of peatland restoration.

“Every site we restore adds to the scale of the contribution we make to our environment, to biodiversity, water quality, to our future, and to the people of Scotland.

“Work is continuing to restore and protect the next 10,000 hectares of this precious natural resource and this will play a key part of Scotland’s response to the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss.”

FLS Chief Executive, Simon Hodgson, said:

“Reaching this milestone is a testament to the dedication of FLS teams and our partners in efforts to transform and restore one of Scotland’s largest degraded ecosystems to create a far healthier landscape.

“One that not only benefits the wider environment, but also the health and wellbeing of people and nature.”

Several FLS forest to bog peatland projects feature in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) recent paper as an examples of successful restoration.

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