For peat’s sake save our bogs, Sheffield conference to hear

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Threats to the UK’s peatland landscapes are to be discussed at a major conference to be held at Sheffield Hallam University next month.

Environmental experts from across the country will gather to discuss solutions to safeguarding, conserving and restoring heaths, moors, bogs, fens and commons.

The In the Bog conference led by Ian Rotherham, Hallam’s professor of environmental geography, will address key findings in peatland research from restoration for landscape and ecosystem functions to the neglected histories and heritage of the bogs.

Peat landscapes are an important carbon storage tool that prevents the release of CO2 into the atmosphere.

But peat means can be dried and burnt as a fuel, which makes it an important energy source in some countries.

Professor Rotherham said: “Our peatlands are under threat from cultivation, agricultural improvement, afforestation, drainage, burning, overgrazing, abandonment and extraction of peat for use as a growing medium or for fuel. Many of these practices dry out the peat, allowing it to decay, and the destruction of peat bogs contributes to global warming as well as destroying important habitats.

“We want to utilise all the expertise and resources we have to identify how to maintain our peatlands and protect ourselves from global warming and in order to do this, we need to understand their history, ecology and archaeology which is what we hope to achieve during this conference.”