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Slamannan bog restoration

The Slamannan bog restoration project aims to restore at least 180 hectares of degraded lowland raised bogs in the Central belt of Scotland, with a focus on an area of the Slamannan Plateau, called Fannyside Muir.

Fannyside Muir  is a large area of peatland just west of the town of Cumbernauld in the Scottish Central Belt. The site has been subject to wide-ranging and long-term adverse management, including drainage for commercial peat extraction and historical afforestation.

Blocked ditches and piling dams at Fannyside Muir (c) Scott Shanks

Blocked ditches and piling dams at Fannyside Muir (c) Scott Shanks

Part of the restoration site is within the Slamannan Plateau Site of Special Scientific Interest and is designated as a Special Protection Area, as it is used by Taiga bean geese (Anser fabialis fabialis) as a winter roosting site.

With the help of volunteer work parties and specialist contractors, the network of drainage ditches across the bogs will be blocked using dams to help retain water in the bog and allow the recovery of peat-forming Sphagnum mosses. Invasive broadleaf scrub and conifers will also be removed to prevent damage to the bog surface which contributes to drying out. 

Round leaved sundew at Fannyside Muir

Round leaved sundew at Fannyside Muir

 

Bogs for Bugs

Many invertebrates can be found on bogs including habitat specialists such as the Large heath butterfly (Coenonympha tullia) and the Bog sun-jumper spider (Heliophanus dampfi).  Other invertebrates found on bogs include the Heiroglyphic ladybird (Coccinella hieroglyphica), the Emperor moth (Saturnia pavonia), which is the UK’s biggest moth, and the Green hairstreak butterfly (Callophrys rubi). Lots of aquatic bugs can be found in in pools and ditches on bogs including the Four-spotted chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata), the Azure hawker (Aeshna caerulea) and the Northern emerald dragonfly (Stomatachlora arctica) which will all breed in bog pools.

Lots of monitoring will take place during the project to make sure that the restoration interventions are working. We are looking for volunteers to help document the recovery of bog vegetation, monitor improvements in ground water levels, and help with invertebrate surveys including a new butterfly transect on the site, moth trapping and dragonfly, damselfly and aquatic invertebrate surveys.

Fannyside Muir Cell-bunded pools near Palacerigg Couuntry Park (c) Dave Beaumont RSPB

Fannyside Muir Cell-bunded pools near Palacerigg Couuntry Park (c) Dave Beaumont RSPB

The project will build on successful bog restoration work undertaken by North Lanarkshire Council on a small area of Fannyside Muir. The Council’s work demonstrated that restoration work in the area is achievable and will have significant ecological benefits.

It is anticipated that this project will bring at least 180 hectares of degraded lowland raised bog into conservation management, improving the overall peatland functioning and connectivity across the area and will benefit many species of invertebrate.

The project will make a significant contribution to the targets of the North Lanarkshire Bogs Action Plan and to the programme of bog restoration proposed in the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy.

Bog specialist ground beetle - Agonum ericeti (c) Scott Shanks

Bog specialist ground beetle - Agonum ericeti (c) Scott Shanks

The Slamannan bog restoration project is funded by the WREN Biodiversity Action FundScottish National Heritage and the contribution of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Community delivered as part of the EcoCo LIFE project:  LIFE13 BIO/UK/000428 Partners in the project include Forestry Commission Scotland, Scottish Wildlife Trust, North Lanarkshire Council, RSPB and Scottish National Heritage.

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