One million hectares of UK peatland will be restored to good condition by 2020, the IUCN UK Peatland Programme has announced.

The organisation set the challenge in an effort to help tackle

climate change, as well as to help with water management and biodiversity

conservation.

The bogs have been damaged by peat extraction, burning, grazing, drainage and forestry planting. The IUCN says they contain three billion tonnes of stored carbon which will be released into the atmosphere if they are not maintained – speeding up global warming.

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Director of the IUCN UK Peatland Programme Clifton Bain calls the peatland’s current state a ‘compost time bomb’.

He says: ‘There are clear costs benefits to society in avoiding peatland damage.  

‘We now need to see the true value of these peatland benefits reflected in the support given to the land managers who protect and enhance them.’

The IUCN along with other experts is calling for support from businesses to put techniques in place that will restore the vegetation and hydrology in the bogs.

Birmingham City University professor Mark Reed says: ‘With such an important and urgent environmental challenge we need the support of the corporate sector to help pay for this work now and avoid future far greater costs to society from damaged peatlands.’

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