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Peat bog project could hold key to tackling global warming
7:30am Thursday 15th August 2013 in News
WINDSWEPT hilltops and heather moors have long created classic images of Yorkshire – but they could also hold the key to tackling global warming.
A conference at York St John University will focus on the future of Yorkshire’s uplands and the vital role they could play in protecting the environment.
Bogs cover 70,000 hectares of Yorkshire, and a fifth of the British landscape. Experts say how we cope with unprecedented challenges facing this lofty terrain and its people, wildlife and archaeology has become a major issue.
Guest speaker Dr Rob Stoneman, of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, said we need to look at our upland bogs in a new light to provide an example to the rest of the world.
Dr Stoneman said: “The UK has one of the densest concentrations of this resource which locks up twice as much carbon globally as all the world’s forests combined.”
But he warns that bogs are being plundered. In Indonesia, great swathes of peat are being converted to palm oil plantation, making Indonesia the world’s third largest emitter of carbon dioxide.
“Our best hope is to show the rest of the world that at least here in the UK and Yorkshire in particular we are restoring our bogs and provide a shining beacon of enlightened land management.”
Efforts are under way to re-wet bogland areas under threat with the Yorkshire Peatland Partnership working on 17 sites as part of a £3m project.
Drainage ditches have been blocked to stop bogs drying out in the Dales, Moors and South Pennines, and hectares of bare peat has also been regenerated.
Elsewhere, projects such as the restoration of May Moss on Fylingdales Moor where 170,000 conifer trees have been axed to keep peat wet have assumed greater importance as the value of peat as a carbon store is better understood.
Margaret Atherden is chief executive of Yorkshire conservation charity PLACE, People, Landscape and Cultural Environment Education and Research Centre, which is holding the conference on October 12.
The conference will also look at upland archaeology, conservation of hay meadows, quarrying, historic buildings, rural development and pioneering work in the uplands to alleviate the severity of flooding.
Tickets for the conference cost £20, £15 for concessions, inclusive of lunch and refreshments. For more details, visit place.uk.com
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