GTN May/June 2021 - Garden Trade News, UK

Page 22

The Peat Issue

ATMOSPHERE

CH4

CO2

CO2

Aerobic peat

DOC/POC/DI C/POC/DIC IC

WT Anoxic peat

So how does Peat emit Carbon?

Carbondynamics in natural peatlands Balance: more carbon is removed from the atmosphere than emitted = sink

Our challenge was to find the best examples of just how using Peat in growing media causes a climate Carbon issue.

T

here have been many soundbites about the environmental issues related to the use of peat in growing media over recent weeks and months, but we’d not heard or seen any full explanation of just how extracting peat causes climate issues that have resulted in the governments plan to ban the sale from garden centres by 2024. Dr Florence Renou-Wilson from University College Dublin gave us the best explanation that in-order to extract peat from a peat bog it firstly has to be drained and “for every hectare of drained bog it emits 6 tons of CO2 per year, for ever if it stays dry.”

18 May/June 2021

for every hectare of drained bog it emits 6 tons of CO2 per year, for ever

“While wet, peat bogs are living organisms, and its when they dry out that the previously sequestered carbon oxidises and is emitted into the atmosphere as CO2.” Florence went on to explain that 6 tons of CO2 is the equivalent of three big SUV cars being driven around a one hectare field constantly for a whole year. “What we need to do to stop peat being a contributor to the climatic Carbon issues is to stop extracting peat from peat bogs and to re-wet all extracted peat bogs so that they stop emitting more carbon and start storing it again.”

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