Blanket bogs, which provide vital habitats for a unique range of plants, birds, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians, are at risk of declining as a result of climate change.
Research by the Universities of Exeter and Bristol in the UK and Macquarie University in Australia, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, shows for the first time how rising temperatures will threaten these sensitive ecosystems.
The study highlights the urgency of developing a plan to protect these important habitats.
Found in wet, coastal areas of high latitude regions, blanket bogs cover around 700,000 hectares of land in the UK, much of it designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Blanket bogs are found in the north and west of the UK, extending from Devon in the south to Shetland in the north, and it has been estimated that 10 to15 per cent of the world’s blanket bog occurs in Britain. As well as being crucial in supporting wildlife, blanket bogs also capture and store large amounts of carbon, helping to mitigate against climate change, and reduce the risk of flooding, by slowing down water flow. With some blanket peat being over 9,000 years old, they also hold historically-significant archaeological material. (more…)