Vital to enhancing our national biodiversity resource is the wise use and management of cutaway bogs and related lands, and creating awareness of the local, national and regional value of biodiversity of peatlands.
Rehabilitation of the cutaway bogs generally involves measures to enhance natural re-colonisation, through activities such as drain blocking to create wetlands and other targeted practices such as tree planting, to create habitats that are appropriate to the characteristics of the site.
The main focus is on allowing the post-industrial peatland areas to naturalise and revert to wetland and dry wilderness areas. This process allows for the expansion and expression of biodiversity back onto the cutaway bogs and the creation of diverse and valuable habitats. While the former landscape was dominated by raised bog habitats prior to industrial peat production, the current and future cutaway landscape will be dominated by a diverse mosaic of wetland, Birch woodland, heathland and grassland habitats.
Rehabilitation can also be combined with the after-use development of peat production areas and cutaway bogs for land-uses such as renewable energy, industrial development, forestry, agriculture and amenity use, as well as biodiversity.
Areas that have been rehabilitated, such as Lough Boora, have been shown to provide a significant amount of ecosystem services including:
- the development of habitats with high biodiversity value and containing species of particular conservation interest;
- refuge areas for more common species under increasing pressure by various land-uses in the wider landscape; and
- areas for nature conservation and the provision of wildlife corridors.
Re-wetting cutaway also has the potential to develop carbon sinks in the future, helping to hold remaining carbon in the ground as well as providing services such as water filtration and regulation of flow. The development of drier areas of cutaway ultimately to Birch woodland has the potential to add a significant area to Ireland’s woodland resource, which is currently relatively low compared to European averages.
Please remember to respect the nature and conservation value of Lough Boora Discovery Park.
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