Today is World Wetlands Day so we are giving some love and appreciation to our wetland reserves. Across the world wetlands are disappearing at a rate three times faster than that of woodlands so it is vital that we protect these incredibly diverse and important habitats. All three of the NNRs we manage are wetland sites and each one is not only beautiful but also rich in biodiversity, hosting a huge variety of plant and animal species.
Did you know that 40% of all species live or breed in wetlands? Loch Lomond NNR supports a huge range of species making it a hotspot of biodiversity. The wet grassland habitat is host to a range of wetland breeding birds, including waders, waterfowl and declining songbirds. The reserve is also protected for the variety of rare plants found there and it is home to many under-recorded invertebrates.
Did you know that peatlands store 30% of all land-based carbon? Bogs accumulate and store carbon when plant material dies and is broken down to form peat. However peatlands only sequester carbon when they are in good condition. Historically peatlands have been undervalued and underappreciated and past management has left many UK bogs in a damaged state. Previously they have been drained for agricultural improvement or planted with commercial forestry – both of which happened on Flanders Moss NNR.
Not only are bogs great at holding carbon but they are also home to many rare and declining species – like the bog sun jumper spider and Rannoch brindled beauty moth, both of which are rare and found in very few sites in Scotland, one of them being Flanders Moss. In the UK, peatlands cover 10% of the land area and form the largest contiguous semi-natural habitat making them a particularly important conservation target. Recently there has been an increase in awareness of the importance of bogs and it feels like there is a newfound appreciation for peatlands. This is partly due to greater understanding of their benefits to biodiversity, the climate and natural solutions to flooding. Now we just need to spread this message so everyone knows how great bogs are (yay – go bogs!).