The Ecology of Peat bogs and why save Cheshire’s peatlands?

Simon Caporn from School of Science and Environment, Manchester Metropolitan University

Dark, peaty soils cover an increasing part of Britain as you head to the higher rainfall areas in the
north and west. In many poorly drained upland and lowland landscapes, a peat layer formed over
thousands of years and is several metres deep, rich in organic matter – and therefore rich in carbon.
Globally, peatlands are the largest land-based carbon reservoir, storing more carbon than the
world’s forests.

The tiny Sphagnum bog moss is the keystone species of most of these peatlands. In this talk I will
explain what is Sphagnum moss and why is it key to the ecology of our peatbogs in terms of
biodiversity, carbon balance and global warming? I will address the current increasing interest in
peatlands, both locally in Cheshire and globally, consider the damage caused by humans and ask
what we can do to repair them and why should we bother?


Simon Caporn is Professor of Ecology and Environment at Manchester Metropolitan University
where he has enjoyed teaching and researching plants, soils and their environments for 30 years.

Location and date