Highlands & Islands

Scottish peatbogs study secures almost £1m funding

Flow Country Image copyright UHI
Image caption The five-year study will examine the effectiveness of peatland restoration

A major new research project is to look at how peatbogs can be better protected against the effects of climate change.

Thurso-based Dr Roxane Andersen will lead a team of nine scientists in the five-year study after being awarded £986,000 in funding.

The research will examine the effectiveness of peatland restoration in the Highlands' Flow Country, Europe's largest blanket bog.

Peatlands play an important role in soaking up CO2 from the atmosphere.

The funding was provided by national grants organisation the Leverhulme Trust.

Dr Andersen, from the Environmental Research Institute at North Highland College UHI, will work with Canadian peatland research groups as part of the research project.

She said: "Peatlands are the Earth's most efficient terrestrial carbon store. They regulate water and climate and support unique biodiversity.

"However, their degradation affects the delivery of these key functions.

"In the UK, the cool, wet climate supports a globally-rare peatland type - blanket bogs. Most UK blanket bogs have been degraded by human activities and, left alone, they make a significant contribution to our greenhouse gas emissions from the land-use sector."

Dr Andersen said "unprecedented efforts" to restore blanket bogs were ongoing.