|Worldwide, just 3% of land is represented by peatlands. Yet despite this, they are the largest terrestrial carbon store, sequestering over two times more carbon than forests. However, it is not just for their carbon storing that peatlands are remarkable: they provide a habitat for a wide diversity of wildlife and are also culturally and historically important, with the preservative capabilities of the acidic water in peatlands, and the discovery of ancient artefacts and burials, associating them with a sense of deep time and connection to the past.
In terms of biodiversity, peatlands range from the microorganisms which perform important chemical transformations such as denitrification, to the mosses which comprise the peat itself, the invertebrates living in those mosses and the surrounding water, and the migratory birds which enjoy the feast provided by the abundance of some of these insects – as well as much more!
Despite all this, 80% of UK peatlands are estimated to be in a damaged state. How can we develop a better relationship with peatlands? RE-PEAT is a youth organisation working to move the perception of peatlands as unproductive wasteland to one which fully encapsulates their ecological and cultural significance. They are hosting an online festival on the 31st May, which has an amazing programme of events bringing together scientists, artists, policy-makers, farmers and musicians from around the world for us all to connect to the extraordinary world of peatlands.
You can find a link to the event here.
Habitat conservation news and views are brought to you by Jamie Walker