A Berwickishire peat bog is being monitored after the completion of extensive work to restore it.
The 25-hectare Drone Moss near Coldingham, designated as a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), has been the focus of a major project initiatied by the Tweed Forum, the multi-interest charitable company which promotes the sustainable use of the River Tweed catchment.
Last year Drone, where the peat depth is seven metres, was one of two traditional lowland raised bogs in the Scottish Borders – the other is the Whim Bog SSSI at Lamancha in Peeblesshire – for which the forum secured funding of over £80,000 from SNH’s Peatland Action Fund.
The fund was set up to restore traditional peatlands which store 25 times more carbon as all other plant life in the UK.
Healthy peatlands keep carbon locked up and continue to absorb and store more, while degraded bogs emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses and thus contribute to climate change.
The success of the funding bid acknowledged that both Drone and Whim, although important wildlife habitats, had become degraded.
“Both sites faced issues of colonising shrubs and trees and active old drainage channels which combined to leave the sites less boggy than they should have been,” states the just-published annual report of the Tweed Forum trustees which explains how the funding was used.
Around 100 man hours of work were involved and, between the sites, around five miles of ditches were dammed and 37 hectares containing scrub and tree growth were cut and felled with the stumps treated.
“At Drone, this also meant hand-cutting many hundreds of encroaching rhododendron seedlings which were threatening to take over the northern end of the bog,” states the report.
“Monitors have been put in place at both sites to record rainfall and water levels and data will be collected so we can ensure the effectiveness of the restoration work.”
Meanwhile, the Tweed Forum is planning to host a series of demonstrations and events, showcasing peatland restoration techniques, including dam construction and the use of matting and mulches. These will be advertised on the forum website
“As part of the Peatland Action initiative, we want to inform society about the valuable role that peatlands have with respect to enhancing wildlife conservation and combating climate change,” states the forum.