Guest blogger: Jim Densham, Senior Land Use Policy Officer, RSPB Scotland
Scotland’s Flow Country is about as far north as you can go without needing to jump on a ferry so it takes some effort to get to - but, if you do, it’s well worth it. This is peatbog heaven and at the heart of this vast (1500 square mile) area lies the RSPB’s biggest nature reserve – Forsinard Flows. Peat has been forming in the Flows for thousands of years and can reach to a depth of 5 metres. When you're out walking on the bog the saturated ground quivers beneath you.
We love the Flows for their special wildlife, such as golden plovers, hen harriers, otters, carnivorous sundew and of course the sphagnum moss which forms the peat. At RSPB Scotland we also work to save and restore this habitat from past degradation because of the 400 million tonnes or more of carbon stored in the peat. Damage caused by drainage, burning, grazing and inappropriate tree planting results in continual loss of carbon from the peat and contributes to climate change. Our work to restore the peat bogs at Forsinard and more widely in the Flow Country can reverse this process, stop these emissions and secure the carbon stocks.
We have a new booklet all about the majestic Flow Country called ‘Bringing Life Back to the Bogs’. You can download it from the website at our new peatland page here or from the Forsinard reserve page here.
Alternatively, plan a trip to Forsinard Flows (you can get there by train) and experience it for yourself.
Bog pools and inappropriate forestry at Forsinard Photo: Norman Russell (rspb-images.com)