Scotland’s first National Peatland Plan has been published and highlights how important these vital habitats are for Scotland’s future.
The plan recognises that peatlands provide multiple benefits to society including biodiversity, good water quality and carbon storage. It also recognises that Scotland is one of the richest countries in Europe for peatland with these exceptionally important ecosystems and landscapes making up a key part of our natural capital.
Sadly, at least 80% of Scotland’s peatlands have been damaged and the new National Peatland Plan provides a framework to restore their natural functions.
The plan sets out a vision that by 2020 Scotland is valuing its peatlands: protected areas should be in good condition, society is embracing peat-free gardening and public funding is supporting peatland management - complimented by private funding initiatives such as the Peatland Code.
The plan states that to make these aims a reality, a step-change is required if Scotland is to restore 600,000 ha of peatland that has been identified as being restorable peatland in Scotland.
However, early action is needed to be both cost-effective and protect those sites that are in good condition.
Achieving the plan depends on support from land managers, environmentalists, policy-makers and the private sector. Policy and funding mechanisms that reflect the true value of peatlands will be central to the process.