PRESS RELEASE 7th August 2012
New technique will help to restore damaged raised bog in Ireland
Stakeholders in the management and conservation of Irish raised bogs are to meet this week at Clara Bog to see a new technique of restoring peat forming vegetation to damaged bog surfaces.
Without Sphagnum or Bog Moss there would be no raised bogs in Ireland. For the past 6000 years Sphagnum moss has been slowly building a vast reserve of moss peat on our raised bogs. The plant needs rainwater at the surface of the bog to survive. “Bog” which is also the Irish word for soft is a good description of what the living surface of a bog is like. The ground is soft and wet. Bogs need to be drained to allow machinery access for turf cutting. The drainage coupled with the compression caused by heavy machinery changes the bog environment and bog mosses can no longer grow.
Canadian peatland managers developed a technique for re-introducing Bog moss onto damaged peat surfaces. Moss is collected from a donor site and spread on a rewetted, prepared bare peat area. It is covered with straw to retain moisture as the mosses establish. Within a time span of 10 years it is possible to get the mosses growing again. This is very important because bog mosses hold up to 20 times their own weight in water which means they prevent flooding in heavy down pours of rain.
The demonstration is being presented by the Irish Peatland Conservation Council, the leading NGO taking action for peatland conservation in Ireland. It will take place in the Clara Bog Visitor Centre and on Clara Bog National Nature Reserve this week. This demonstration is being provided free to participants in liaison with the National Parks and Wildlife Service and thanks to generous support of the Heritage Council under the Heritage, Community and Outreach Grants Scheme 2012.