The Luggala estate in the Wicklow mountains in Ireland is home to an extensive peatland and upland bogs. However, large areas have been drained for peat extraction and grazing which has caused damages of the habitats. As a result of destruction and removal of the vegetation from the surface, once a powerful natural carbon sequestration area is now in poor condition.
The Luggala estate Limited is undertaking a peatland restoration project over the next couple of years for the 1,300 hectares of peatlands. It will start with detailed ecological and hydrological studies. The plan of the company is to restore 150 hectares of blanket bog after that. Then improve heathland management on a further 150 hectares of wet and dry heath.
“We know the important role bogs play in carbon sequestration and by rewetting and restoring the peatland habitats on Luggala we can make an important contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and make a response to biodiversity loss,” said Anthony Blanchfield, environment manager at Luggala.
Carbon Sequestration Role Of Peatlands
Peatlands are the largest natural terrestrial carbon sink on Earth. They are currently covering around 3% of the world’s land surface and store 0.37 gigatonnes of CO2 a year. That is more than any other type of vegetation in the world.
Apart from sustaining biodiversity, they also provide safe drinking water and minimise flood risks. Damaging those valuable carbon sinks releases significant amounts of carbon dioxide and hinders climate change mitigation efforts.
Rewriting the natural bog heritage in Ireland will play a major role in sequestering carbon and will contribute to reducing high flood levels downstream. The peatlands in the area are also a key factor for the estate’s high water quality.
The main problems that have caused the damages of the ecosystem of the area are grazing and drainage. The ecologists have found the land to be in a worse condition than expected when starting the investigation. They claim there is little evidence of sphagnum moss in the bog, which is a critical building block for peatland health.
The restoration program is expected to start this year. The company’s environmental professionals will work closely with the National Parks, Wildlife Service and other interested parties while conducting the project.
Repairing the damaged peatland area in Ireland is an important factor for increasing CO2 sequestration endeavors. The pressure of reducing GHG emissions and natural ecosystem restoration is rising along with global temperatures. The peatland project in Luggala is making a major contribution to the restoration of natural environments removing CO2 buildup in the atmosphere.