An exciting green blob

Blawhorn Moss NNR

It’s been a while since we’ve blogged Blawhorn. It hasn’t been neglected, don’t worry. I personally haven’t been to visit for a while since things like training courses and surveys have filled the weeks. But on a crispy, sunny day last week I was pleased to be able to visit and help carry out some checks and do some tidying around the car park and reserve.

It’s lovely to see the changes after being away from the reserve for a while. Yes, the flowers are mostly away and the dragonflies aren’t buzzing around the ponds anymore but there is still this amazing sense of wildness up on Blawhorn Moss.

One change in particular was very exciting! Do you remember our damming efforts back in June? (see here) Well, you’re gonna love this…


Do you see it?

That’s OK, you can be forgiven. I do get over-excited sometimes, especially when it comes to bogs.

This is the “borrow pit” from our peat bund dam, which gave us the healthy peat to pack down tightly into the ditch to slow the water flow. It’s filled up with accummulated backed-up ditch water and rainfall, and already there is a green splodge of fresh sphagnum moss growth!

Not only has the pool started to form sphagnum, the moss has started to grow across the the bund itself (above). Almost like the bog is healing over.

The plastic piling dam (below) has also been holding back water and forming new sphagnum growths. As these were trial runs of both ditch-damming techniques on the new part of the reserve, it’s all very encouraging to see our efforts are making a difference.

Depending on the species and environmental conditions, sphagnum mosses can grow 2-12 cm in a year. Don’t get this confused with peat growth rate, which is only about 1mm a year as the lower parts of the moss die and accumulate underneath the plant.

As water is slowed or even stopped, this allows sphagnum to establish and grow. Once it grows and deposits enough peat, this will then start to block the ditch even more as it accumulates and absorbs more and more water, and thus sequestering more carbon. The bog essentially can look after itself as long as it isn’t damaged in the process of forming peat. (Sometimes it can even create it’s own natural damming process). It just needs that bit of help to get going, especially as it is such a slow process and such a degraded bog.

We hope now to be able to do more of this damming and continue this bog-healing, helping bring Blawhorn’s water table up to new levels and form even bigger, even more exciting, green blobs.

About Ellie Lawson, NNR Placement

Practical Placement on Stirling's NNRs. Enthusiastic about birds, butterflies, bogs, brochs... and the rest!
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2 Responses to An exciting green blob

  1. Anne says:

    Interesting news.


  2. Pingback: Happy hummock day | 2 bogs, a swamp and some islands

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