With a bog managers hat on

Flanders Moss NNR

In the last few days I have been round our water level monitoring devices recording the changes in the water table in the mound of peat that is Flanders Moss. A 7 miles, 6 hour stomp right round the Moss. And unsurprisingly it is wet and getting wetter. In Scotland we seemed to have seen a lot of rain and little sun in the last 6 weeks or so. After a very dry spring and early summer it is very good to see the bog filling up again. At times during the summer we have had rain and the surface of the moss looks nice and wet. But it isn’t how wet it is at any one time but how long it stays wet. Because the water table had dropped in Spring, the surface water just drained down and the surface dried quickly. But now that subsurface gap between the vegetation and the water table is filling up and when it rains it stays wet.

You can see this is the water level monitoring kit. These measure the maximum and minimum water levels in the peat over a period of time and the gap between these over the last 2 months is not very much – just a few centimetres in places. A water table close to the surface means vigorous sphagnum growth and good conditions for bog vegetation. So with my bog managers hat on all this rain is a fine thing. But I do have to be careful how loud I say it as the farmers trying to harvest hay and crops on the surround clay ground are having a tough time and have my sympathy. Carse of Stirling farming on heavy, wet clay is a difficult job at the best of times and too much rain at the wrong time makes life very difficult.

As the bog gets wetter sphagnum grows, swallowing up fallen trees on the surface.

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