Blanket Bog

There is approximately 2,210,000ha ha of blanket bog in the UK, of which 1,759,000ha is found in Scotland, with Ayrshire holding only 21,329 ha (probably less now, this was 1988 aerial survey). Blanket bog is found in areas of the UK which have an oceanic climate, meaning cool temperatures with high levels of regular rainfall. It is generally considered blanket bog if the peat depth is greater than 2m deep, however 0.5-3m is most typical. They are mostly composed of water held in Sphagnum mosses, are nutrient poor and have acidic plant communities. Examples of this habitat can be found at Airds Moss and Dalmellington Moss.

Bog pools are a common feature and the frequency of them will depend on local topography. Blanket bogs are an extremely important habitat for non-flowering plants such as Sphagnum mosses, and areas with Hare’s Tail Cotton Grass Eriophorum vaginatum may be home to the Large Heath butterfly Coenonympha tullia. It is also of high importance for birds, as it is the habitat of resident birds such as Black Grouse Lyrurus tetrix and Red Grouse Lagopus lagopus, and a breeding ground for waders such as Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria and Dunlin Calidris alpina as well as Golden Eagles Aquila chrysaetos, Hen Harriers Circus cyaneus and Short-eared Owls Asio flammeus.

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