Atlantic blanket bog is an important habitat for many species of plants, insects, amphibians, birds and mammals, including protected species such as golden plover and the marsh fritillary butterfly. However, the majority of Ireland’s blanket bogs are in poor condition due to a range of human activities.
The Nature Trust is taking on a large-scale project to rehabilitate 500 hectares of degraded Atlantic blanket bog in the west of Ireland. The aim of the restoration work is to restore a functioning peatland habitat by creating the conditions for bog-forming mosses to grow. This work will be funded by a €2.5 million donation from Amazon’s Right Now Climate Fund, which is dedicated to enhancing biodiversity and to conserve, restore and improve nature in communities where it operates.
Blanket bogs occur in areas of consistently high rainfall where the ground surface is waterlogged for much of the time, resulting in the development of deep peats. With healthy bogs containing up to 90% water, they act as a natural water storage and filtration system. As a result, this restoration also has the potential to regulate water flow, improve local water quality and reduce the risk of flooding.
“Restoring peatlands at scale is expensive but it can provide great returns for climate and biodiversity,” said Ciarán Fallon, Managing Director at The Nature Trust. “We welcome this donation from Amazon’s Right Now Climate Fund which will allow us to carry out a large-scale restoration project on 500 hectares of degraded Atlantic blanket bog. Our focus now will be to identify appropriate sites and to conduct extensive surveying including hydrology and ecology assessments and measurement of peat depths.”
“As well as being vital to biodiversity, peatlands are highly efficient at absorbing carbon,” said Zak Watts, Director of EU Sustainability for Amazon. “As a means to fight climate change, there is no greater natural solution in Ireland. I am thrilled to be providing our first Right Now Climate Fund donation in Ireland to support The Nature Trust’s peatland restoration, which will help deliver numerous climate benefits, now and in the future.”
The Irish government’s Climate Action Plan recognises that restoring peatlands will deliver a range of climate benefits through reduced carbon emissions, long-term carbon storage and enhanced resilience to the impacts of climate change.
We look forward to updating you on this project as it progresses.
Image: Sundew growing on peatland