Flanders Moss NNR
One of the purposes of National Nature Reserves is to try out new habitat management techniques to see how well they work. At the moment we are giving stump inversion (or stump flipping) a go.
20 years ago a 40 ha conifer plantation was removed off the moss. The aim was to restore the bog habitat but removing the trees wasn’t enough. The stumps and planting ridges offered raised ground for non-bog plants to get established like birch trees. So we have been trialing a number of techniques to flatten the surface. Over the next few weeks a specially adapted low ground pressure himac is working out in the plantation turning all of the stumps and planting ridges left over from the plantation into the furrows to level off the site.
This is a skilled job. The driver, working for Drumclog, is in a 14 ton machine teetering on the surface of what is like a giant rice pudding and it is only the skin (the vegetation layer) that is keeping it out of the quagmire. These guys are very skilled at hooking the stumps out of the ground and then flipping them upside down and then pushing them into the dips. While the machine works the whole of the bog surface wobbles like there is an earth tremor. Quite amazing to watch and feel.
The result will be a wetter, smooth bog surface that sphagnum will be able to form and spread freely so starting the healing process of the bog. This work also enables different bits of bog habitat to be joined up across Flanders so allowing bog species to spread easier in the future. It is all part of a European funded project called EcoCoLIFE which is funding habitat work that links habitats together across Central Scotland. More about EcoCoLIFE – Joining Up Nature Across Central Scotland – can be found here.