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Protecting Scotland's Peatlands

More than 20% of our land in Scotland is covered by peat. Peatlands also hold most of Scotland’s carbon store, and according to NatureScot, they hold the equivalent of 140 years’ worth of Scotland’s total annual greenhouse gas emissions, so have a vital role in helping us tackle climate change.

Peatland restoration is becoming increasingly high profile, with Scottish Government proposing £250 million over 10 years to help meet climate targets and help Scotland work towards its ambition of zero net carbon by 2045.

Not only can Scotland peatlands sequester carbon if correctly managed, better management of peat could have numerous positive environmental impacts, from protection of drinking water to improvement of flood management.

Find out more in the resources below.

Technical Note (TN722) Identification of Moorland Habitats



Far from being the bleak wasteland that is sometimes perceived, they support a wide diversity of plants that provide both ecological and cultural benefits.  Find out more about some of the more common plants you can expect to find within areas of peatland on our 'The Secret Life of Peatlands' webpage.

How well do you know your uplands?

We often talk about 'Heather Moorlands' when referring to the uplands, but there are three distinct upland habitats in which ling heather plays a prominent part. In this video, filmed mostly on the Wildlife Estates Scotland accredited Finzean Estate in Aberdeenshire, conservation specialist, Paul Chapman, explains how to differentiate between Dry Heath, Wet Heath and Blanket Bog.

Cutting for Positive Moorland Management

In this episode of the Thrill of the Hill series Alex Pirie talks to the project coordinator for the Ayrshire Coalfield Environment Initiative, Daisy Whytock about a range of topics and issues, conflicts between woodlands and peatland, the importance of peatland as a carbon sink, responsible peatland utilisation and the role of peatland for pollinators.

Podcast: Thrill of The Hill - Enhancing Peatlands

The cutting of heather is a viable alternative to muirburn to manage moorland habitats in areas where there is deep peat, surrounding woodland and a shortage of labour.  This video gives more information on the advantages of cutting and shows the results seen on farm.

Podcast: Thrill of The Hill - Heather Management

This podcast discusses the state of Scotland’s moorlands, with conversation ranging from hot topics like burning, as well as swiping and grazing for heather management, the carbon holding potential of peat and biodiversity value of these unique habitats.

Biodiversity in Peatlands

Practical Guide: Managing Peatlands and Upland Habitats

Scotland’s peatlands store 1.7 billion tonnes of carbon - more than 30 times the amount of carbon in our forests and other vegetation.  Managing our peatlands to restore previous damage and prevent new damage helps to reduce carbon emissions and creates a carbon sink. Find out more in our Practical Guide.

Information Note: Peatland Management for Crofters, Farmers, and Land Managers

If peatlands form part of your land holdings, you’ll want to be aware of the risk and opportunities they represent. Recent developments in government funding and carbon markets may present an opportunity to restore damaged landscapes and generate income. Find out more in our Information Note.

A female black grouse walking through some autumn vegetation with a male black grouse bird visibe in soft focus in the background.

Managing Peatlands to Benefit Upland Birds

Scotland’s peatlands provide habitats for a many of our upland birds, some of which are not only classified as Birds of Conservation Concern, but some can be found in Scotland's list of National Priority Species.  Find out more about how to manage your uplands to benefit upland birds visit our webpage.

Recording biodiversity on your farm or croft

Find out more about 'Using Technology to Record Biodiversity'  We've highlighted some of the more common and user friendly apps and downloads that can help you build up a resource detailing the natural capital on your farm.

What are livestock bridges?

Our peatlands are home to a host of Scotland's wildlife, including some of our Priority Species.  Using livestock bridges when grazing moorlands can help prevent negatively impacting the environment and biodiversity.

The Muirburn Code

Muirburn can be a form of management on areas of moorland that have become rank from lack of grazing, however there are strict regulations around it's use.  Find out more on our Muirburn Code webpage.

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