A PROJECT to restore peatlands on a Scots nature reserve has successfully been completed, with hopes it will help address climate change.
More than 17 hectares of peatland habitat have been put on the road to restoration, including blocking more than 10km of man-made ditches to reduce their draining effect and help restore natural processes.
Peatlands, or areas dominated by peat, cover more than 20% of Scotland, and much of Scotland’s drinking water flows through these catchments, making healthy peatlands crucial for drinking water quality at source.
Peatlands also contain most of Scotland’s land-based carbon store – estimated to hold the equivalent of 140 years worth of Scotland’s total annual greenhouse gas emissions.
It is also estimated that 80% of Scotland’s peatlands are damaged.
Lesley Watt, NatureScot’s Rum NNR manager, said: “We were really keen to restore this area of peatland to improve the condition of the habitats on Rum.
“It’s amazing to see how quickly the water pools behind the new peat dams.
“We are looking forward to the dragonflies and damselflies hovering around these new pools in the summer.
“This area is close to the main track onto the NNR, so a walk up the glen is a good place to see this peatland restoration and also golden eagles and red-throated divers, both of which breed in good numbers on the reserve.”
The restoration area was in peat up to 3.5m deep, which had been drained before the site was a NNR.
The work included blocking the old drains to raise the water table, encourage the growth of peatland vegetation and allow the peatland itself to function more naturally.
Drains were blocked with peat dams every 10m, using specialist machinery to minimise the damage to the bog surface.
Peatland ACTION funding, provided by Scottish Government, primarily provides support for on-the-ground restoration across Scotland.
Peatland ACTION is delivered through a network of organisations including NatureScot and Scotland’s two National Park Authorities; Cairngorms National Park Authority and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority.