A FARM between Auchinleck and Cronberry is helping to fight climate change thanks to the East Ayrshire Coalfield Environment Initiative (CEI).

Common Farm is on the south west edge of the Airds Moss special conservation area and the landowner has been working with CEI to carry out restoration works on three areas of peatland at the farm in November and December 2017.

The work included ditch-blocking using peat dams, installation of bunds to hold water, targeted tree felling, scrub control and rush cutting. The aim of the work was to slow water loss, raise and stabilise the water table across the bog and to support the growth of water-loving Sphagnum moss, which is the main peat-building plant.

Sphagnum moss is able to mop up carbon from the atmosphere as it grows which is then locked away in the layers of peat, contributing to the fight against climate change. Restoring peatlands also contributes to natural flood water management and provides a haven for wildlife such as black grouse, hen harrier and many species of invertebrates.

After this latest project, CEI have now enhanced 479 hectares of peatland in the area.

The CEI’s work to restore degraded peatland across the coalfields will help deliver the ambitions of Scotland’s Climate Change Plan to restore 50,000 hectares of degraded peatland by 2020.

CEI project manager, Daisy Whytock, said: “This is the first time the CEI have worked with a local farmer to carry out a peatland restoration project. It has been a positive experience and we have worked together with the farmer and contractors to balance the CEI’s objectives with that of the farm business.”

The CEI would like to hear from anyone interested in helping monitor their peatland sites to ensure the habitat’s health in the longer term, and create a special place for wildlife. Contact CEI project officer, Gemma, on 01563 576 771 or at gemma.jennings@ea-cei.org.uk to find out more.