Wild about wetlands!
Today is World Wetlands Day, which is celebrated every year on 2 February to raise awareness of these amazing habitats. You may be wondering what wetlands are? Well, wetlands are classed as any habitat that is seasonally or permanently flooded with water. This means that rivers, lochs, marshes, peat bogs, estuaries and floodplains are just some examples of wetland habitats!
So why is there a World Wetlands Day? Wetlands face significant threats. Worldwide we are losing wetlands at a rate three times faster than forests are being cut down! This is a huge problem, as wetlands are extremely important. They support many species, store carbon (great for fighting climate change), protect us from flooding, and provide us with fresh water. World Wetland Day aims to raise the awareness and knowledge of wetlands and the threats they face in order to protect them. The theme for this year is Wetlands Action for People and Nature, highlighting the importance of action to conserve and protect wetlands, which is exactly what we are doing here at the Cumbernauld Living Landscape with the Brilliant Bogs project!
Cumbernauld has several areas of raised peat bog. However like many wetland areas, these have been degraded by peat removal for burning and horticulture, and drainage for agriculture and development. Restoration work has involved removing young trees and plants that may dry out the bog (bad news for these wetlands!). Small dams or ‘bunds’ can be installed to retain water, allowing peatland species to recolonise and for the areas to become carbon stores once again.
In 2021 the brilliant Nature Ninja volunteers removed young trees that were drying out the bog at Abronhill, and for World Wetland Day 2022 they will be doing the same at Ravenswood. Reducing the amount of water that is sucked up through the roots of the recolonising birch will stop these bogs from drying out, reducing the greenhouse gases that were being released from them.
If you’d like to help protect peat bogs in Cumbernauld you can get involved with our Nature Ninja volunteer group. Another easy way to do your bit is to only use peat-free compost to grow things in. Amateur gardeners account for 58% of peat use, which is something we want to avoid to protect our Brilliant Bogs!