Bogs are unique rain-fed, wetland habitats that contain peat soils. They provide essential ecosystem services such as carbon storage and natural flood management, and are important areas for wildlife including Hen harrier, Curlew, Sundew, Adder, Large heath butterfly, and many species of plant including peat-building Sphagnum mosses. Around 18% of the land cover of East Ayrshire is made up of bogs and other peat soils with much of this internationally recognised, though many of the bogs in East Ayrshire have been damaged through past land-use.
The East Ayrshire Coalfield Environment Initiative (CEI) and partners have been working to improve bog habitats in the Coalfields since 2013 as part of the East Ayrshire Coalfields Nature Network and EcoCo LIFE projects.
The CEI have delivered 405 hectares of bog enhancement work across five sites since 2013, utilising funding from the SEPA Water Environment Fund, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Cumnock and Doon Valley Minerals Trust, Peatland Action Fund and the LIFE+ financial instrument of the European Community (LIFE13 BIO/UK/000428 EcoCo LIFE). Through the EcoCo LIFE project, the CEI will continue to explore opportunities to work with land managers to enhance bog habitats.
The project has commissioned a number of habitat surveys with the aims of prioritising sites for enhancement, gathering baseline habitat data and informing enhancement and management plans. The CEI have carried out enhancement work at Airds Moss, within the RSPB Reserve; Dalmellington Moss SSSI, a SWT Reserve; Tappethill Moss, a Forestry Commission Scotland plantation; Shiel Farm, at the western end of the Airds Moss SAC; and Low Moss, a raised bog near Lugar. This work has been carried out by highly skilled contractors who have used a range of techniques, including constructing peat and plastic piling dams, creating trench bunds, tree felling and scrub clearance.
The CEI have used their expertise and taken advice from others experienced in bog restoration to use the best available methods to ensure the best possible results. We hope that the improvements at our enhancement sites will benefit bog wildlife, and will be carrying out surveys with volunteers to monitor the success of the enhancement work and to collect biological and habitat data.
To read more about enhancement work at our sites, click on the links below: