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Scotland’s Flow Country could soon be home to the globe’s first peat bog protected as a world heritage site. The blanket bog covers over 1,500 square miles stretching across the northern tip of Scotland. Peatlands like the ones in Flow Country are one of the most efficient carbon trappers on Earth. Ecologists estimate that the Scottish peatland holds about twice the total carbon of the UK’s forests and woodlands combined.
“It’s the single largest peat deposit in the world and therefore it’s the single largest carbon repository in the world; it’s the world’s largest in terms of one block, one expanse of blanket bog,” Prof. Des Thompson, the architect of the heritage site bid, told the Guardian.
Why This Matters: Peatlands only cover about 3% of the earth but hold about a third of the carbon stored on land. Despite their importance in mitigating climate change and its impacts, peatlands have been degraded in the past and continue to face threats worldwide. The biggest threat currently is drainage for farming and forestry, which has all sorts of negative impacts. In addition to releasing greenhouse gases, draining peatlands can increase fire risks and flooding.
Protecting more peatlands is an important step toward keeping the climate crisis in check. A study published earlier this month found that hitting emissions targets without peatland protection “would be very difficult or nearly impossible to achieve,” as the study’s author told the New York Times.
Land Protection Means Animal Protection Too: It’s not just their role as a carbon sink — peatlands also support biodiversity. The Flow Country peatlands are an important international breeding site for birds and home to plants that thrive in the bogs. Keeping carbon in the ground and protecting ecosystems, like in Scotland, goes hand in hand.
By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor Today, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) released its 2021 Plowprint Report, which tracks the amount of grasslands lost to plow-up each year. This year’s study found that plow-up across the Great Plains has only continued to accelerate, releasing exorbitant amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. The report concludes that […]
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer With global temperatures rising and rainfall patterns changing, global agriculture is shifting too — with big changes projected. Places like Siberia and northern Canada that have been too frigid for farming in centuries past are expected to become cropland by the end of the century. But it’s not a […]
By Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer The National Park Service has closed down a large swathe of Alaska’s Denali National Park after excessive permafrost thawing caused landslide activity near the park’s only access road. The access road is now closed, blocking entry to about half of the park. Park officials say that although there have been landslides in […]
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