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Last Updated: Sunday, 27 May 2007, 09:42 GMT 10:42 UK
Climate change hope for bog plan
Blanket bog in Lake Vyrnwy (picture: RSPB)
Work is being carried out on the blanket bog at Lake Vyrnwy
A five-year project is taking place to restore rare habitats in mid and north Wales that could help combat climate change.

Work on blanket bogs - a type of peat bog - in Lake Vyrnwy, Powys, and near Bala in Gwynedd, is costing 2.5m.

As part of the project, sitka spruce, a variety of conifer, and rhodendrum bushes will removed from bogland areas.

Blanket bog absorbs carbon, which could help combat climate change and supports insects, birds and rare plants.

Work has already started on the LIFE project in Migneint-Arenig-Dduallt, near Bala, and the RSPB reserve at Lake Vyrnwy.

Project manager Jared Wilson said: "The LIFE project is a fantastic opportunity to protect a valuable habitat and the birds and other animals which depend upon it.

"The potential benefits to tackling climate change make this even more important."

All the bogs are designated Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), and apart from providing havens for wildlife, they also help slow down global warming by trapping carbon from the atmosphere.

Sphagnum moss (picture: RSPB)
Sphagnum moss thrives on waterlogged ground

However, damaged blanket bog emits a huge amount of carbon. As the peat in the bog decomposes, greenhouse gases are released, claim experts.

The project is part-funded by the European Union, which has met three-quarters of the 2.57m cost.

The RSPB, the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW), the Environment Agency and Forestry Commission Wales are also working on the scheme.

It is hoped the project will sustain a host of specially-adapted plants that thrive on the waterlogged ground, including sphagnum moss, insect-eating sundews and bog rosemary.

Arfon Hughes, of the CCW, said: "This project is a positive step to assist some of the best Welsh upland blanket bog habitats to cope with an uncertain future."

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