Why does peat matter?

  1. Peat bogs store huge amounts of carbon by locking it in the ground. Harvesting peat releases the carbon.
  2. Peat bogs act like sponges, retaining rainwater, and helping to reduce the risk of flooding. The sponges are Sphagnum mosses that can soak up between 8 and 20 times their own weight in water. A huge number of tiny microscopic plants and animals live among the mosses.
  3. Peat bogs are unique. The Sphagnum mosses, combined with very low oxygen concentrations, inhibit the decay of plant material by producing antibacterial compounds called phenols.
  4. Much of our water comes from British uplands where peat is found. When peat is present, it removes impurities from the water passing through it, making it cheaper to produce water suitable for drinking.
  5. Peatlands provide the perfect habitat for a wide range of water-loving plants, which in turn support a variety of species of butterfly, dragonfly and birds.
  6. Peat accumulates slowly, by only 1-2 mm a year so is effectively a non-renewable resource. Harvesting peat from bogs often removes around 500 years of growth at a time.

This is a test sentence by Anne