As global warming and extreme climate events continue to occur throughout the world, the Flow Country's importance as a large carbon store is being increasingly recognised. Conversely, we also now have a better understanding of the very significant contribution that damaged peatlands are making to carbon dioxide emissions in the UK. Whilst much of the peatland in the Flow Country is in good condition, there are still significant areas of plantation on deep peat and large areas of unblocked hill drains. It is crucial that we work on restoring these damaged areas, to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Restoration work will also make the bogs more resilient to deal with climate change in the future, as the wetter they are the more likely they are to withstand any drier periods.
Wildfires are expected to increase in the future as we experience warmer conditions. A large part of the Flow Country was damaged by a wildfire in spring 2019 and this showed the vulnerability of the peatlands. Where the peatland was wetter the fire caused less damage, another important reason for focusing on restoring water levels through restoration work.
Photo credit: Neil Cowie