Bogged Down: Peat Bog Loss Means Greater Carbon Emissions

Peat Bogs are hugely significant in the fight against climate change, playing a critical role through carbon sequestration. Peat bogs act as sinks, which fix and store carbon from the atmosphere.

The gradual erosion of England’s Peat Bogs diminishes their capacity to store carbon, and physically releases it in gaseous form – carbon dioxide – when dried out. Mismanagement of peat bogs through overgrazing by sheep and pollution from industry, has resulted in their decline. Overgrazing leads to greater surface runoff, accelerating topsoil loss and releasing carbon.

Fred Worral, a peat specialist of Durham University, says that land-based emissions are possibly as serious as those of aviation and road transport. Peat bog can potentially store up to 5000 tonnes of carbon per hectare. The National Trust organised hundreds of volunteers from energy and conservation bodies to help begin restoring Peat Bogs in England, though it is unlikely they will return to complete blanket bog.

The fight against climate change continues to be fought on several fronts.

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