Peatlands

Published: 25th May 2017

Read all about the importance of peatlands.

Peatlands are a significant feature of wild land in Scotland. They are home to precious, specialist species but they are also our most significant carbon store. It's vital that we protect existing peatlands, as well as restore those that are degraded. We work to ensure their huge value is recognised fully in public policy and planning decisions.

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Covering only 3% of the world’s surface, peat bogs contain 30% of the world’s soil carbon and are a significant carbon store. More than 20% of Scotland is covered by peat - that's some 2 million hectares, almost exactly the same size as Wales. (Source: SNH)

Peatlands can be damaged by extraction for horticulture, burning, drainage, excessive grazing, commercial forestry, bull-dozed tracks and inappropriately-sited developments.

We have expressed concern about peatland impacts in relation to a number of industrial-scale wind farm proposals, highlighting the role of peatlands in retaining carbon stores in the ground - a vital role with respect to climate change mitigation.

Peat storage area

We are part of a coaltion of environmental bodies that make up the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) UK Peatland Programme, set up in 2009 to promote peatland restoration in the UK and to advocate for the multiple benefits of peatlands through partnerships, strong science, sound policy and effective practice.

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