The final report of the EPA-funded ‘Carbon Restore’ project shows that breathing new life into cut-away and degraded boglands would provide climate, biodiversity, water and economic benefits. UCD based Dr David Wilson led the ‘Carbon Restore’ project and it was carried out with the cooperation of Bord na Mona which own much of Ireland’s depleted and degraded peatland.
The EPA research Report shows that:
* Restoring highly degraded peatlands can provide an important sink for carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas driving climate change;
* Restoring peat is possible as proven in a detailed study of a ‘rewetted’ industrial cutaway bog in Bellacorick, Co. Mayo;
* ‘Rewetting’ can be managed so as to take up carbon dioxide and limit the release of other greenhouse gases which can be produced when restoring peatland.
* Other benefits in water management and biodiversity also accrue.
Laura Burke, EPA Director General, comments: “The report indicates that there is significant potential to using restored industrial peatlands to address climate change and other environmental challenges forIreland. Climate change is a pressing issue that requires long term strategic responses, including in the management of land use. This research also presents us with a vision of effective management of cutaway peatlands. Lands previously thought of as having little or no economic value are potentially valuable resources if subject to appropriate long term management.”
The report demonstrates that the need to address climate change means that peatland, and particularly degraded peatland, may have a new economic future. Almost 13 per cent of Ireland’s land cover is peatlands, unique ecosystems that contribute to biodiversity and water management and function as major carbon stores.