Bogland once harvested by Bord na Móna rehabilitated into eco-friendly resources
Almost 12,000 hectares of Irish bogland once harvested by Bord na Mona have been rehabilitated into eco-friendly resources, the company said.
The area transformed will "substantially increase" in the coming years as the journey from peat energy production to renewables continued, Bord na Mona chiefs said.
The semi-state company has already announced it will stop harvesting peat for burning in power stations by 2030.
In the interim it plans to transform itself into a leading supplier of solar, wind and bio-mass energy.
At the launch of its new Biodiversity Action Plan 2016-2021, Bord na Mona head of land and property, Gerry Ryan, said its lands were an asset "not just for our company but for communities across Ireland".
"Our plan is to sustain a healthy natural environment by driving down our carbon footprint, developing environmentally friendly goods and services, rehabilitating bogs and increasing biodiversity on those lands," he said.
"All of these outcomes will bring rich rewards to people living near our landholdings and to the nation as a whole.
"We are hugely proud of the fact that we have now rehabilitated up to 12,000 hectares, and look forward to increasing this further in the course of the new plan. This Biodiversity Action Plan identifies how we are going to help make that happen on significant areas of Irish bogs."
Bord na Mona chief ecologist Dr Catherine Farrell said: "Under the 2010-2015 Biodiversity Action Plan we successfully mapped and studied all of the Bord na Mona bog areas. This allowed us to develop measures to ensure each bog is rehabilitated according to best practice and expand core areas for biodiversity.
"Habitats that have already benefited from the work are wetlands and woodlands - now relatively scarce in the wider Irish countryside, while species such as breeding waders and other rare bird species are also finding space on the rehabilitated bogs to secure successful breeding sites as they are marginalised from other traditional breeding areas across Ireland.
"We will continue that significant work under the 2016-2021 plan, working with all our stakeholders to ensure responsible management of each of our bog areas, informed by the on-going monitoring of the bogs."