PEAT AND ECOLOGY 

 

Peatlands offer many services to our remarkable planet. They host a plethora of the weird and wonderful plants including the insect-eating Sundew that lives in the Irish bog country. Or the infamous Sphagnum moss (peat moss), the most abundant plant in peatlands. They are also home to a multitude of uniquely adapted creatures.

 

The sponginess of peatlands allow them to absorb heavy rains; peat mosses are able to absorb up to twenty times their own weight in water! This natural sponge is especially important to low lying countries like the Netherlands, because they also protect the land from seawater intrusion and flooding. 

 

Also important: when peat is drained, the newly re-oxidized top peat layer continually erodes, meaning that the land itself starts to lower. In the Netherlands, large parts of the country are currently subsiding at the same speed as the sea level is rising! 

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