Bog lands of Ireland Conservation
Extreme Ireland support the native woodland trust charity in their goal to preserve any of the remaining ancient woodland in Ireland and its mission to plant areas with native Irish trees. There is another charity we came upon recently the IPCC ( Irish Peatland Conservation Charity ) which is dedicated to the preservation of as much of the remaining unspoiled bogland and the restoration of peatland habitats. These two charity have worked together We had the pleasure of attending an educational day hosted by Nuala Madigan, It was plain to see her passion and love for bog land of Ireland conservation.
Creation of the bogs : There are two types of bogs in Ireland Blanket bogs and raised bogs. Blanket bogs are generally formed on mountains and along the west coast (Atlantic blanket blogs). The blanket bogs where formed between 7 and 4 thousand years ago in areas of high rainfall wher nutrients were washed out of the soil creating an iron pad which is impenetrable to water. This leads to water logging and the in ability of plant matter to decompose properly. This acidic terrain covers large areas leaving them useless on an agricultural level but creating their own natural environment. The blanket bogs exist in abundance as they are not very deep and poor providers of Turf. Click for further information on blanket bogs. Raised bogs on the other hand were formed 10,000 years ago by shallow lakes filling with plant matter. Due to the wet conditions the matter didn’t decompose and continued to build up. Peat is poor in nutrients and doesn’t give a stable footing for trees which leads to the formation of raised bogs. The raised bogs are much deeper than the blanket bogs and were seen as a great provider of fossil fuel. Click here for more information on raised Bogs
Harvesting of the Bogs : Traditionally rural communities would have harvested peat for fuel but the cities would have imported Welsh coal and there was no industrial revolution in Ireland so the fuel in the bogs went unharvested until the 1st world war. Supply of Coal from wales stopped as all supplies were eaten up by the war machine so to supply the cities with fuel harvesting of the bogs began. It was all done by hand and an army camp was set up in Lullymore to supply the demand. After the war of independence the Irish free state government set up the Turf development board which later became Bord na Mona which began harvesting of peat at an industrial level supplying homes and electricity generating power stations. This got into full flow during the second world war. Peat was also seen as an agricultural product, even though it is lacking in nutrients. It gives a stable base layer to which nutrients can be added to provide optimum growing results.
Preservation of the Bogs : Surprisingly the Dutch came to the rescue of the Irish bogs having destroyed all their own bogs . A study group came to Ireland from Holland and discovered that the Irish were following in their footsteps with huge industrial development and no conservation plans. They returned to Holland and began to fundraise in Holland to buy up tracts of unspoiled bog in Ireland. They purchased the bogs and handed them over to the Irish government to manage as areas of special conservation. This gave a kick start to the bogs of Ireland conservation. Since then the Irish Government has pledged to preserve other large areas and the IPCC have been formed to continue with education preservation and create awareness about the importance of the Irish bogs to the eco system.
For further information and to find out what you can do to support this charity visit their website or have a day out and go to their visitor centre in Lullymore (check opening hours first).