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Carbon Storage

Peatlands store significant amounts of carbon - covering only around 20% of Scottish total land area, they store a staggering 25 times more carbon than all the  vegetation of the UK. Peatlands are wetlands and have naturally accumulated large amounts of carbon-rich peat. Peat, made up of layers of partially decayed plant material, effectively locks up carbon absorbed from the atmosphere.

Carbon LOSS

Peatlands in good condition maintain the wet, acidic and low oxygen conditions required to stop dead plant material from becoming fully decomposed, thus releasing all the absorbed carbon back into the atmosphere.

Although peatlands naturally release some greenhouse gases (methane, carbon dioxide) back into the atmosphere - without them the release rate would accelerate greatly


The carbon locked up in Scottish peatland soils is equivalent to 140 years’ worth of Scotland’s total annual greenhouse gas emissions.
— Scottish National Heritage - PEATLAND ACTION

Short Facts about peatlands

  • Globally important habitat and home to rare plants, invertebrates and birds.
  • Water flow and quality regulator, key factor in flood management, fisheries and drinking water supplies.
  • Place for recreation - hillwalking and deer stalking.
  • Heritage - culturally significant landscapes.
  • Natural defence against wildfire.