PRESS RELEASE: 13th February 2015
Restoration: Bringing the bogs back to life
Intact bogs are living and breathing ecosystems and are fast becoming recognised as ‘Ireland’s rainforests’ locking up to 1,566 million tonnes of carbon when properly functioning. However once a bog is drained this carbon sequestration function is reversed and the bog itself begins to die. Slowly the tide is turning in the bogs favour as we restore them and bring them back to life.
Across the country as a variety of restoration schemes are being put into practice on Ireland’s protected bogs. The Irish Peatland Conservation Council (IPCC) maintain a sites database which records 98 sites across the country which have had some restoration work carried out. This work ranges from tree removal to Sphagnum moss (the bog building plant) cultivation and is being carried out by local communities and large businesses alike. Key to any successful restoration plan is the rewetting of the bog, principally achieved by the blocking of drains.
Lullymore Bog in Co. Kildare was once the largest raised bog in the country, part of the great Bog of Allen complex It was one of the first raised bogs to be intensely harvested, with peat transported to the now extinct Allenwood Power station for electricity generation. Though parts of the bog are still in peat production one small remnant, Lodge Bog, is being managed by the Irish Peatland Conservation Council (IPCC) solely for conservation.
Intensive blocking of the drains on Lodge Bog occurred in 2005. Since then IPCC have been monitoring the rising water levels on the bog and are happy to report that raised bog restoration works and given time can bring the bogs back to life. When work started here the bog was drying out and beginning to crack. Today the bog is wet underfoot with conditions perfect for the growth of bog moss or Sphagnum across much of the bog. The bog is used to showcase best practice in raised bog restoration techniques and as an education tool, with more than 2,000 visitors each year.
Such success stories are likely to become more and more prevalent over the coming years as work begins on restoring Ireland’s valuable bog resource. Another site that IPCC is working on restoring in liaison with the local community, Coillte, NPWS and the Native Woodland Trust is Girley Bog in Co. Meath. Work at this site and others is allowing for the essential ecosystem functions provided by intact peatlands to continue. Carbon storage, water regulation, recreation and the provision of habitat for wildlife are just some of the services we need to protect for future generations and the ever evolving process of bog restoration is helping to achieve this.
For further details, information, pictures or interviews, please telephone: 045-860133 and ask for Tadhg Ó Corcora, Conservation Officer or email firstname.lastname@example.org