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Peatland project breathes new life into National Park

A major peatland restoration project by Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, which will help reduce the effects of climate change, create healthy habitats for wildlife as well as being used for recreation and providing employment – will be completed this month.

eroded peatland

eroded peatland

The project is part of The National Park’s biodiversity action plan, ‘Wild Park 2020’. The £120,000 of repair work, funded by Scottish Natural Heritage’s Peatland Action, at Beinn Dubh above Glen Luss and Auchtertyre, near Strathfillan, has involved supplies being flown in by helicopter and conservation workers enduring two-hour hikes in high winds and snow to reach the remote areas.

The restoration of the top of these two mountains involves blocking drains which provides a number of benefits including; preventing peat from drying out and releasing carbon into the atmosphere; reducing the impacts of flooding by slowing down water flow for farmers and residents downhill; improving water quality and the quality of mountain vegetation for local wildlife; as well as supporting the internationally important habitats for rare plants, birds and insects. Eroded areas of bare peat have also been re-planted to help stabilise the exposed sections.

tractor working on peatland

tractor working on peatland above Loch Lomond

Harriet Smith, land management adviser at Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority said: “Peatland restoration is incredibly important; not only to reduce the effects of climate change, but because of the far reaching additional benefits both for wildlife and people. We have worked closely with Luss Estates and Scotland’s Rural College at Kirkton and Auchtertyre farms to make these projects a reality and are looking forward to seeing more people being able to enjoy the benefits that these iconic landscapes provide.”

The National Park says that Scotland’s peatlands:
– Retain 25 times as much carbon as all other plant life in the UK,
– Provide a place for recreation – hillwalking, grouse shooting and deer stalking,
– Provide employment – with many upland peatland areas being used for farming,
– Provide grazing for local wildlife,
– Provide an important habitat for rare birds, plants and insects,
– Reduce the impacts of flooding.

The mountain bog restoration work is just one of the nature conservation projects which form part of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park’s five flagship ‘Wild Challenges’, which also include improving woodland habitats, increasing the number of red squirrels and black grouse, and the removal of non-native invasive species.

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