Conserving and restoring moorlands can slow down climate change

Published: Sunday, March 7, 2010, 10:34 [IST]
 

Washington, March 7 (ANI): Scientists have stressed that conserving and restoring the moorlands is important because they are some of the rarest habitats in the world, home to extremely rare animals and plants, and can also slow down climate change.

Seventy-five per cent of the world's heather moorlands are in the UK. However, pollution, overgrazing and wild fires have damaged large areas.

Several organisations in the Peak District National Park in England are trying to restore and conserve the moorland habitat.

Moorlands in good condition act as a valuable carbon sink that absorbs more carbon from the atmosphere than it releases, thereby slowing climate change.

The Peak District Moorlands currently stores between 16 and 20 million tonnes of carbon; and together with the rest of the UK's peat lands are the single largest carbon reserve in the UK-storing the equivalent of 20 years of UK carbon dioxide emissions.

Air pollution, fires, grazing, climate change and recreational trampling have caused the erosion of large areas of the moorland.

Damaged areas release more carbon than they absorb.

Researchers from the Moors for the Future Partnership argue that peat land restoration activities in England and Wales could absorb around 400,000 tonnes of carbon a year.

This is equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions from 1.1 billion car miles or 84,000 family-sized cars per year.

Using techniques such as re-establishing heather and other moorland plants, rebuilding and re-routing paths, and gully blocking, various organisations seek to reduce erosion. (ANI)


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