Grand Tour of Scottish Blanket Bogs

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R. Andersen

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Blanket bogs are a globally rare type of peatland restricted to high latitudes regions with hyperoceanic and cool climates. Around 13% of the world’s blanket bogs cover 1.8 M hectares, or nearly a quarter, of Scotland’s land area. Among these, the Flow Country peatlands of Caithness and Sutherland represents the largest expanse of blanket bog in Europe and a site of global significance, notably for its assemblages of breeding birds. Much like in the rest of the world, blanket bogs have been impacted by human activities, with up to 80% of Scottish peatlands degraded to some degree. Large-scale restoration efforts are currently underway to halt habitat degradation, reduce carbon  losses and bring back functional peatlands around the world. Scotland is leading the way with a National Peatland Plan setting out ambitious targets to restore up to 21,000 ha a year until 2030, and supported on the ground by the Peatland Action programme. Importantly, these restoration activities are underpinned by coordinated research efforts, some of which I will introduce more in details in this talk. First, I will discuss the unintended consequences of planting trees on blanket bog and the effect of “forest-to- bog” restoration on biodiversity, carbon and water. I will then discuss some of our recent research on peatland condition and restoration progress monitoring over very large scales in remote areas using remote sensing. These results and findings will be put in the contexts of global peatland restoration efforts, climate emergency and biodiversity crisis.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program