United Kingdom — The Scottish government announced it was setting aside more than $300,000 in research funds to restore the country’s vast peatlands.
“It is vital these soils are managed correctly to help avoid unnecessary carbon losses that can add to our greenhouse gas emissions,” the government said in a statement. “Restoration of peatlands helps overall to retain carbon, rather than act as a source of emissions.”
Edinburgh said evidence in the country is limited in terms of how peatland restoration can lead specifically to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
The advocacy group Wetlands International said peat drainage can suddenly expose all of the organic carbon locked in the water-logged soils. Peat fires are also a major source of potential greenhouse gas emissions.
The Scottish government said there is more carbon in its peatlands than in all of forests in the United Kingdom.
“Some 10,000 hectares of previously disturbed peatlands in Scotland have already been successfully restored, but we need to understand more about these complex carbon-rich soils and what they mean in practice,” Scottish Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham said in a statement.
Peatlands and similar soil structures cover roughly 60 percent of Scotland.