Friday 25 January 2019

Volunteer Bird Surveyors Wanted

Natural England, Wirral Council and Cheshire Wildlife Trust would like to hear from anyone who is interested in becoming a volunteer bird surveyor at Dibbinsdale SSSI.

The team briefing takes place on Thursday 7th March, from 12 – 2 p.m. at Brotherton Park and Dibbinsdale LNR Visitor Centre.

For more information please email

Thursday 17 January 2019

The Hidden Power of Moss

Sphagnum moss. Photo: External Affairs, Wikimedia Commons.

Those who came to our talk on Friday about the management of upland moors would be interested in a programme aired on Sunday 13th January on Radio 4.

Sphagnum moss is a vital ecosystem component of peat moorlands. As it grows it sequesters carbon and after about 10 to 15 years of growth the lower parts start to form peat. However peat moors are degrading due to a combination of peat removal for horticulture, tree planting, pollution, fires and draining to enable sheep grazing. 90% of peatlands are damaged and therefore not sequestering carbon. In the UK peatland makes up 10% of total land area compared to a world average of 3% so it is important to try and reverse their decline.

Neil and Barbara Wright of Beadmoss on the Nottingham-Leicester border, are now commercially growing sphagnum moss that can be replanted in peatland. It took them 15 years of research to perfect their micropropagation techniques and turn it into large scale production. They grow 18 species of sphagnum and last spring they produced 800,000 plug plants. In the Peak district these are planted at a density of 1250 plants per hectare and one man can plant 1000 plugs in a day. Replanting took place on Kinderscout in 2016 with the hope that this technique will help to reach carbon mitigation targets and that water retention by the sphagnum will help with fire prevention.

This is an interesting approach to an ecosystem problem.

Thanks to Elaine Mills to alerting us to this.