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Thursday 19 July 2018

Bord na Móna digging deep to re-wet thousands of acres of bog

One of Bord na Mona's new machines carrying out rewetting work at Clonwhelan Bog, Edgeworthstown, Co Longford. Photo: Jeff Harvey
One of Bord na Mona's new machines carrying out rewetting work at Clonwhelan Bog, Edgeworthstown, Co Longford. Photo: Jeff Harvey
FarmIreland Team

FarmIreland Team

Machines that have been described as “defibrillators for bogs” are being deployed to revive some of Ireland’s oldest bogs.

According to Bord na Móna, the machines cost more than €100,000 and are used to block decades-old drains on the bogs with the aim of causing them to rewet and start growing again. 

Speaking on Clonwhelan Bog, near Edgeworthstown, Co Longford, Bord na Móna ecologist David Fallon said: “These machines are like massive bog defibrillators, giving them the push they need to start living again. Their arrival here is a massive boost to the task of blocking the drains that will raise the water levels and rewet the bog.”

David added that the machines will help to unlock live mosses that help draw down carbon and will aid the growth of wildlife habitats on the bogland.

“Once the bog is wet, the live mosses which build the bog will return in force. In locations like this, when the live mosses are active again the bog can return to being a carbon sink.

“We hear a lot about the effectiveness of rainforests in this regard but Irish bogs can be just as effective in drawing down and storing carbon.

“These rehabilitated bogs also have the immediate benefit of providing new habitats for rare Irish flora and fauna.

“We have 162 hectares of bog here that once rewetted, we hope will become a habitat for a number of precious species including the curlew,” he said.

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Bord na Móna has announced that it has progressed the rehabilitation of over 700 ha of cutaway bog in the past year. This adds to the 15,000 ha of bog already rehabilitated by the company.

The company has outlined a target of at least 10,000 hectares to be rehabilitated in the coming decade.

In 2015, Bord na Móna announced it was transitioning towards a more sustainable business model and that it would cease harvesting peat for energy completely by 2030.

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