PRESS RELEASE 17th May 2012
With the onset of National Biodiversity Week imminent the Irish Peatland Conservation Council has launched an information and awareness campaign celebrating the importance of peat to Ireland and the World. The campaign is targeted at communities throughout Ireland and includes the release of a poster and information leaflet and the organisation of two family events in the countryside during Biodiversity Week.
At the launch of an information leaflet and poster entitled “What’s So Special About Peat?” Dr Catherine O’Connell of the IPCC said “that despite the fact that we have been cutting turf from peat lands for nearly 400 years, the vast majority of Irish people know little or nothing about peat lands. This campaign aims to fill the information gap and help people to celebrate the unique and invaluable place that peat lands have in our lives” she added.
Peat lands are wetlands and have been part of the Irish landscape for 10,000 years accumulating peat at a rate of 1mm per year. They are part of the fabric of our countryside and an iconic landscape renowned all over the world. They are a natural store of carbon and water. They provide a refuge for unique flora and fauna that are not found in the wider countryside. They provide an inspiration for artists and writers and they are good for people as a venue for relaxation and outdoor pursuits.
Peat is easily destroyed by digging, cutting, draining, burning, overgrazing and erosion. And in some parts of the country management is necessary to restore their ability to store water, accumulate carbon and safeguard biodiversity.
There’s something for everyone to celebrate and smile about this coming week in the bog whether your taste runs from bird watching to berry collecting or peat snorkling to peated whiskey. Further details about the campaign are available from the IPCC web site at www.ipcc.ie. The What’s So Special About Peat? Leaflets are available from the IPCC, tel 045-860133 or can be downloaded from this link What’s So Special About Peat?. This campaign is supported by the Heritage Council under the Heritage, Community and Outreach Grants Scheme 2012 and by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht as part of “Notice Nature” – Ireland’s Public Awareness Campaign on Biodiversity.