Conservation experts have completed the final phase of a large bog restoration project between Falkirk and Cumbernauld.
Wildlife charity Buglife Scotland and partners Forest Enterprise Scotland, North Lanarkshire Council and the Scottish Wildlife Trust have restored over 210 hectares at Fannyside Muir by blocking old ditches and removing trees to encourage peat-forming Sphagnum moss to recolonise the site.
Over 4100 dams have now been installed and 25 hectares of conifers and scrubs have been removed by volunteers and contractors.
Almost 30 hectares of shallow bog pools have also been created for dragonflies and other wildlife, including rare Taiga bean geese that roost on the bog in winter.
The project has provided opportunities for 56 volunteers, who contributed over 396 hours helping with tree clearance, ditch blocking and monitoring. More than 650 species of invertebrates, plants, mosses, fungi, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles have been recorded from the bog.
Angus MacDonald, MSP for Falkirk East MSP said: “I would like to congratulate everyone involved in ensuring the successful completion of the bog restoration project at Fannyside Muir, which will act as a long-term carbon sink, maintain water quality and support wildlife.
“Rewetting peatbogs has been recognised as a vital way of storing carbon and coupled with over 650 species recorded in the Fannyside Muir area everyone involved in the project should give each other a big pat on the back for a job well done.”
Dr Scott Shanks, Buglife Scotland’s Conservation Officer said: “Protecting our remaining peatlands and restoring damaged bogs is hugely important not just for their unique wildlife, carbon storage and flood prevention roles, but also because of the preserved history stored within these ancient habitats.
“The site has been accumulating layers of pollen and plant and animal remains in the peat for over 9000 years.”
Fannyside Muir is part of the Slamannan bog restoration project funded by the WREN Biodiversity Action Fund, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and the contribution of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Community for the EcoCo LIFE project.