BBC Countryfile – Sunday 6th December 2020 – Black Mountains.
39:25 minutes into the programme they highlighted:
- 7 million acres of peatland in the UK providing a home to hundreds of plant and wildlife species.
- The peatlands absorb vast quantities of carbon from the atmosphere.
- Damaged peatlands release carbon into the atmosphere.
- Damaged peatlands account for around 10% of the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions.
- Preserving peatlands is crucial in the fight against climate change.
- Black Mountains Land Use Partnership (https://www.blackmountains.wales)
- Th Black Mountains are a hotspot for illegal trial biking which is taking its toll on the delicate peatland soil.
- Restoration is being lead by the Countryside Ranger and an Ecologist (Dr Paul Sinnadurai – https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Paul_Sinnadurai2)
- In the UK 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide are released each year into the atmosphere from damaged peatlands – so it’s critical to look after them.
- Peat is really important because it locks in 5 times more atmospheric carbon than any other vegetation. It’s been doing that for thousands of years but where it gets exposed through the actions of footfall, livestock walking across it, illegal off road motorcycles ripping open the ground – we need to repair the damage to lock in the carbon.
- What is peat? Undecomposed vegetation that is formed where sphagnum moss traps rainwater. The moss gets buried and buried and buried but keeps growing towards the sky and the rain, it gets trapped beneath its own growth and gets pushed underground over thousands of years and more vegetation grows on top.
- To repair the peat Coir roll is used to slow water flow (https://www.salixrw.com/product/coir-rolls/) and the erosive power of water and to stabilise the peat.
- Heather seed is then planted.
- GeoJute is laid over the seed. (https://www.flexiblelining.co.uk/ground-reinforcement/erosion-control/geojute-erosion-control-rolls) The GeoJute is a biodegradable net that will eventually rot, it’s used to stabilise the peat and holds moisture so that in the summer the peat doesn’t completely dry out and it allows the seed to germinate.
- Damaged peat not only releases carbon into the atmosphere, it affects ecosystem, the control of water flow and water quality.
- Important habitat will be lost if we don’t tackle this problem.