19 Oct 2023

Sphagnum moss is known as the “bog builder” as it is the primary peat forming plant. As the plant grows vertically, the old plant material does not fully decompose due to acidic and waterlogged conditions thereby storing carbon. Therefore, as part of the Peatlands and People project, which aims to explore best practices in restoration and rehabilitation, Bord na Móna have commenced the planting of Sphagnum moss on peatlands formerly used for industrial peat extraction that have recently been subject to intensive rehabilitation. The rehabilitation/rewetting has been achieved via Bord na Móna’s Peatland Climate Action Scheme (PCAS). By planting Sphagnum moss on suitable areas of rewetted peatland, the aim is to expedite the colonisation of the bare peat bogs with several Sphagnum moss species. This, in time, will expedite the likely restoration of peat forming conditions and ultimately turn these peatlands back to being carbon sinks.

A pilot study of planting Sphagnum moss on rehabilitated raised bog was commenced in late 2022 and early 2023. The initial results suggest that the method is working well, with significant growth rates recorded.

The current phase of the Peatlands and People project aims to plant 150,000 Sphagnum “plugs” (the term used for a small cluster of Sphagnum plants) between October and December 2023 across 30 hectares of recently restored Bord na Móna bogs.