The Observer reports tinally recognised for its environmental benefits, the UK’s ‘Cinderella habitat’ is at the heart of a major conservation drive… About 92% of England’s blanket bog is in the north of the country, mostly in Yorkshire. But this vital and delicate part of the ecosystem is disappearing, in many cases having been deliberately drained to graze sheep and shoot grouse, and now the moorland is etched with deep channels through which, each year, hundreds of tonnes of crucially important peat is simply being washed away by the weather.
The Independent reports a major conservation scheme designed to restore crucial peat bogs in the north of England has turned Holcombe Moor, near Manchester, into a “giant sponge”, which will help the habitat recover, enabling it to store more carbon and help tackle the climate crisis.
A coalition of local and national conservation organisations spent six months creating almost 3,500 scallops-shaped banks of peat, known as “peat bunds”, which they say will help trap water in pools, instead of it running off the moor.
The Independent reports researchers for Natural England carried out a comprehensive survey of the role different types of natural habits in Britain play in capturing carbon from the atmosphere, looking at forests, grasslands, heathlands, salt marshes and seagrass meadows and how much they store in their soils, sediment and vegetation.
They found that undisturbed woodlands and peat bogs had the highest rates of carbon sequestration, with a hectare of ancient woodland capable of storing the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide each year that would be emitted from 13 plane journeys between London and Rome. A 10-metre deep fenland peat bog can store eight times as much carbon as the equivalent area of tropical rainforest.
The Independent reports the Scottish government is encouraging farmers and landowners to apply for grants from a £22m fund for restoring its peatlands, which can help capture carbon. Up to a quarter of Scotland, about 1.7 million hectares, is covered in peat soil which could capture and store up to 1.6 billion tonnes of carbon – the equivalent of up to 140 years of the country’s emissions.
ENDS REPORT reports the environment minister Lord Zac Goldsmith has signalled his support for a ban on peat burning and expressed concern that nature based climate solutions are being “utterly neglected”.
According to conservation charities RSPB and WWF, protecting existing carbon stocks in the UK will secure the equivalent of 16,231 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (MtCO2e) – the amount of 36 years-worth of UK emissions at 2018 levels.