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Environment / ‘Immerse yourself in peatland and help reverse carbon dioxide losses’, amenity trust recommends

A peatland restoration project in Shetland. Photo: Shetland Amenity Trust

SHETLAND Amenity Trust is inviting folk to a “hands on” peatland restoration afternoon to learn more about the valuable role bogs play in tackling climate change.

Part of events to mark international bog day 2022, people can join the trust’s peatland restoration officer Sue White at the recently restored site at Girlsta on Sunday 24 July between 2pm and 5pm.

She said the aim of the event was to raise awareness and to take practical action in helping to protect these incredible carbon stores.

“Healthy peatlands are huge carbon stores,” she said. “However, damaged bogs dry out and release carbon into the atmosphere.

“One hectare of damaged peatland is emitting as much carbon dioxide as four to five family sized cars every year.”

Of Shetland’s overall annual carbon footprint of 495,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions (UK Government figures for 2019), a staggering 334,500 tonnes come from so-called LULUCF (land use, land use change and forestry) activities.

White added that thanks to funding coming from the peatland action programme, restoration of eroding gullies, hags and bare peat has been carried out at the site at Girlsta by specialist contractors over the last two years.

The final part of the process is to transplant bog vegetation such as Sphagnum moss, which is one of the main peat forming plants, onto the restored bog.

“This event is an opportunity for folk to see some of the peatland work we have been doing, and add the finishing touches to the site, spend the afternoon literally immersing themselves in nature knowing that they are making a real difference in the restoration of an area of peatland and reversing the carbon dioxide losses,” she said.

No experience is necessary, she added – just a willingness to do some practical peatland conservation work and mitigate climate change.

The site is a short walk from the public road over rough ground. Sturdy, waterproof footwear is essential, and a bucket would be helpful. Participants can meet opposite the Old Girlsta Chapel on the Girlsta to Strom road.

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