Woodlands in the UK store 150 million tonnes of carbon.

Peatlands in the UK store 3 billion tonnes of carbon!

Peat bog with heather and water pool in the Peak District
Peat in good condition soaks up carbon

How a bog can be a sink

Peat forms when moorland soil becomes waterlogged, sometimes called a bog. Because it is wet and airless, carbon in the peat does not decompose, which makes peat soils a carbon sink.

If all the peatlands in the UK were in perfect condition, they could store away 400,000 tonnes of carbon every year. That's the same as taking 84,000 cars off the road.

Damaged bare peat soil in the Peak District
Eroding peat emits carbon

How a sink turns into a source

Peatlands get damaged by fires, air pollution, overgrazing, over drainage and footpath erosion. Damaged peatlands have bare soil that gets eroded. It stops being waterlogged and so stops storing carbon. Instead the carbon gets emitted into the atmosphere as the soil is eroded.

If peatlands continue to be damaged, they could emit upto 381,000 tonnes of carbon every year.

Case study: Restoring peat in the Peak District

This video shows the damage done to the peat moorland in the Peak District National Park, and how the Moors for the Future project is restoring peat, to help fight climate change, reduce flooding and increase wildlife.

How to restore peat:

  1. Replant vegetation
  2. Block up gulllies to decrease drainage
  3. Work with landowners to reduce grazing, fires and drainage

Benefits of restored peat:

  1. Stores carbon rather than emitting it
  2. Reduces floods by storing water
  3. Reduces risk of wildlfires because soil is waterlogged
  4. Increases biodiversity

What do peatlands look like?

MICCI Project

We're running a project to get school children involved in real scientific research on the impact of climate change on moorlands. The MICCI Project (Moorland Indicators of Climate Change Intiative), has been run in 11 different National Parks, with 100s of school groups. 

Find out about the MICCI project, how to take part, and the results they've found so far.

More information