A project in the UK aims to address both wildfires and floodings by restoring a dry and barren moor near Manchester.
The National Trust, together with conservationists, has been working to construct 3 500 dams in peatlands at Holcombe Moor in the West Pennies during the past six months. The peat has dried out because of moorland fires, overgrazing, and other factors. The dams were constructed to retain water to rewet the peatland. Not only will this large-scale restoration project rewet the peat, but it will also help regenerate lost biodiversity, prevent flooding and “absorb CO2 emissions like a sponge”.
Peatlands store double the amount of carbon compared to forests, so restoring the peatlands is important to stabilize the climate. Maddi Naish, a rural surveyor at the National Trust, explains to Positive News:
“If you imagine a giant sponge which is covered in thousands of small holes and can hold large quantities of water—that’s what we’re aiming for here.”
“The peat bunds stop rainwater rushing across and off the plateau and instead trap it on the moor, allowing special plants to thrive which help the peat to absorb carbon from the air,” she continues.
Healthy peatlands attract plants, insects, and rare wading birds like the golden plover and dunlin.
“Peatlands only cover a tiny percentage of the world’s land but are superheroes when it comes to storing carbon,” Naish says. “We’re just a stone’s throw away from a major city so it’s incredible to think we live alongside a habitat that is rarer than rainforests globally, but which contributes so significantly to tackling climate change.”
By taking care of our planet and restoring what can be restored, we can help the future come sooner.