There's a lot of noise surrounding peatlands and rightly so. They are an essential habitat for many species and need to be protected. This is a precious resource that we need to conserve or we could be worse off in the future.
Peat has traditionally been harvested for heating and burning. Blocks of peat are cut out the ground, dried, and used for fires. It grew popular as it is cheap to obtain and burns for a long time. It is also used in whiskey production up in Scotland, the smoke from the burning peat used to give them their distinctive flavour! Also an important component of compost, it holds moisture well and holds onto nutrients so they aren't washed out of the soil when you water the plant.
Below, we have compiled 3 reasons why we need to start reducing our usage of this resource, to preserve these valuable wetlands for the good of the ecosystem and future generations.
1. Carbon Storage
Peat holds 550 billion tonnes of carbon globally. This is twice as much as all the world's forests combined! In a time when carbon sinks are more valuable than ever, we're allowing them to be depleted, and we need to take action now before it is too late. In the UK, peatlands store the equivalent of 8 years worth of carbon emissions, highlighting the importance of these wetlands and the hugely positive impact they play on society.
2. Flood Management
Peatlands also act as a water management system, holding 20 times its weight in water! They are a natural buffer against flooding, slowing water flow and thus reducing flood risk downstream.
Peatlands are home to many species of wildlife
. Frogs, snakes, butterflies, deer, otter, and a multitude of birds all rely on these wetlands to live and hunt. Some of these would struggle to survive without this habitat and are feeling the squeeze already. So it's up to us to preserve and maintain these important areas.
"Peat is hugely important to our planet for lots of reasons. It acts as a carbon store, it is a great habitat for wildlife, it has a role in water management, and preserves things well for archaeology"
- From a National Trust Article. Read it here.
So, what are we doing to help? Here at Plant Plan, we have a planting system called Eco-Culture® which is a soil-free planting system. As well as bringing many other benefits, it reduces peat usage and helps us do our bit in preserving these incredible areas.
If you've any questions, we look forward to hearing from you!