Bord na Móna deploys new excavators for bog rehabilitation work in Longford and Tipperary.
New machines have been deployed on Bord na Móna bogs in Longford and Tipperary this week as part of a plan by the company to rewet thousands of hectares of bogs across Ireland.
The machines are being used to block decades old drains on the bogs causing them to rewet and start growing again.
One of the new machines, which have been specially engineered for bog work, cost over €100,000 and has been deployed in the past week to Clonwhelan Bog close to Edgeworthstown.
Bord na Móna Ecologist David Fallon said the machines were like massive bog defibrillators, giving the lands the push they needed to start living again.
“Their arrival here is a massive boost to the task of blocking the drains that will raise the water levels and rewet the bog,” added Mr Fallon, before pointing out that once the bog is wet the live mosses which built the bog would return in force.
“In locations like this, when the live mosses are active again, the bog can return to being a carbon sink; we hear a lot about the effectiveness of rainforests in this regard but Irish bogs can be just as effective in drawing down and storing carbon.”
Meanwhile, the expert says that rehabilitated bogs have the immediate benefit of providing new habitats for rare Irish flora and fauna.
“We have 162 hectares of bog here in Edgeworthstown that once rewetted, we hope will become a habitat for a number of precious species including the Curlew,” Mr Fallon said, before pointing to the fact that Bord na Mona has also announced that it has progressed the rehabilitation of over 700 hectares of cutaway bog in the past year.
“This adds to the 15,000 hectares of bog already rehabilitated by the company.
“The company has outlined a target of at least 10,000 hectares to be rehabilitated in the coming decade; in 2015 Bord na Móna announced it was transitioning towards a more sustainable business model and that it would cease harvesting peat for energy completely by 2030.”