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Ireland

Lodge Bog

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Conservation benefit: Restore 86 acres of ecologically valuable peatland and increase habitat for the threatened curlew

Community benefit: Environmental education for schoolchildren

Date Approved: 06.2017

Like mangrove forests, peat bogs keep immense amounts of carbon-rich materials underwater, where they don’t decay and release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Bogs also mitigate flooding (by soaking up water) and help maintain water quality (by filtering out contaminants).

But Ireland has lost almost 80% of its peatlands, with serious environmental consequences. When bogs are drained or peat is dug up for fuel, peatlands go from being enormous carbon sinks to enormous carbon sources.

This project will save and restore 86-acre Lodge Bog in two ways. First, drainage will be blocked, keeping the water table high and preventing the release of greenhouse gases. Second, trained volunteers will replant peat moss. This will return the bog to an active state—that is, one that is forming more peat. Restoring the bog will protect breeding habitat for large wading birds called curlews. Their population has plummeted since the 1980s because of habitat loss.

Our nonprofit partner is the Irish Peatlands Conservation Council, which has worked to preserve peatlands since 1982. The IPCC will host school students at its Bog of Allen Nature Center, so they can learn about Ireland’s most threatened habitat and bird species.

Project Updates

May 2018

This project has been successfully completed. The IPCC told us that the project revealed additional issues for curlew conservation, including the need for fences at the bog boundaries. They added that having international support from Seacology had helped them raise more funds on their own to pay for the fencing.

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January 2018

Our nonprofit partner, the Irish Peatland Conservation Council, has installed or reinforced 22 dams and planted mosses on Lodge Bog, to block drainage and encourage peat formation. To get all this work done, the IPCC trained 20 volunteers, including Trinity College Dublin students studying for master’s degrees in biodiversity conservation. They followed scientifically accepted best practices, which are labor-intensive but minimize habitat disturbance. The trained volunteers will be able to use their new skills on other raised bogs that could also provide habitat for the threatened curlew. The IPCC has also promoted conservation on social media and welcomed more than 300 students from 10 primary schools to Lodge Bog for education about curlews and hands-on learning at the bog’s ponds.

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