MORE than 50,000 tonnes of carbon could be stopped from entering the atmosphere over the next 100 years, thanks to a peatland restoration project by a Borders environmental charity.

Estimates from Tweed Forum – the organisation completing the work – show that 51,686 tonnes of carbon will be stored over the next 100 years from its 287 hectares of peatland restoration.

Across three locations in the Borders, the charity has restored 287 hectares of blanket bog.

As well as reducing carbon emissions, this work will help improve water quality along the Tweed catchment and encourage the growth of sphagnum mosses which act as a filter for the water, according to the group.

Rachel Coyle, a peatlands project officer at Tweed Forum, said: “Healthy peatlands store carbon that has accumulated over thousands of years and also actively capture carbon from the atmosphere through the natural process of peatland growth.

"It is estimated, however, that 80 per cent of peatland habitats in Scotland are damaged so restoration work like this is vital, both to ensure carbon is retained and to bring a host of additional environmental benefits.

"It’s extremely rewarding to see that the biodiversity of the areas restored is already starting to improve and to know that this work will play a significant part in combatting the effects of climate change.”

Restoring the peatlands and encouraging the growth of mosses will also allow for downstream floods to be slowed by the natural flood management provided by vegetation.

By holding water for longer the vegetation also helps reduce drought incidents.

The restored peatlands will also enhance the Borders' biodiversity, says the charity.

Tweed Forum has already noted teal using bog pools as well as sightings of frogs and frogspawn.

The organisation also hopes to see curlew, grouse, golden plover and dragonflies use the peatland.

Tweed Forum has completed restoration worked at Grey Mare's Tail (8.6 hectares) and at Chapelhope and Winterhope Farm (174 hectares), which is owned by Wemyss and March Estate. A 105-hectare projected was also carried out in partnership with the Borders Forest Trust across seven sites.

Martin Andrews, the factor at Wemyss and March Estates, said: “Our upland peatlands are very important habitat which, if in good condition, brings multiple benefits in terms of increased biodiversity and wildlife habitat, water and flood management and carbon storage.

"We are very pleased to have been able to restore nearly 450 acres of peatland on the Estate in Selkirkshire and are grateful for the help of Tweed Forum and NatureScot in facilitating this work.

"We hope to restore further areas in due course.”

For more information on the peatland restoration project, visit: