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Forestry and Land Scotland has begun (27 July 2023) restoring 60ha of peatland at the Cairngorm Mountain Resort in Glenmore that will help put the vital mitigation work in the public eye.   

Situated adjacent to the resort’s  top car park and with public paths all around, the visitors to the centre will be able to watch some of the operation’s progress and see for themselves what is involved.   

The restoration, which will include 2ha of land owned by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), will improve the overall condition of the bog, reduce carbon emissions from eroding and exposed peat and increase the landscape value over time.  (1 hectare is about the size of a football pitch).  

Sarah Nicholas, FLS’ Carbon Projects Manager, said;  

“Almost everyone now knows how important peatland restoration is as a contributing factor in Scotland’s Climate Emergency mitigation effort.   

“But most of the work that is being done is in out of the way places where few people get a chance to see what it entails.   

“Being right next to the Cairngorm Ski Centre means that people will be able to see for themselves what a degraded peat bog looks like and one of the ways that restoration can happen.  

“This particular area of blanket bog is unusual in that the issues we need to deal with have arisen largely because it is in a very high exposed location on a slope, in an area with historically high deer numbers. This has meant that water has run off more quickly and has cut gullies into the peatland, leaving small, raised areas – or hags – of peat.    

“Re-profiling the eroded hags and associated eroded gullies and put back the peatland vegetation on the tops and on the slopes will help to restore the blanket bog to its near natural state. Plugging the gullies floor, where appropriate, with small peat dams will slow down the water flow and help to disperse it to the flatter areas and rewet the site. This will help bog vegetation to recover with immediate benefits to wildlife and eventually restart the build-up of peat and carbon in the soils” 

FLS has worked closely with HIE, Cairngorm Mountain (Scotland) Limited, as well as the Reindeer Centre and Nature Scot, to plan, agree and schedule the programme of works. As well as setting up access agreements that take into account different ownerships and high visitor numbers, most of the site is designated – National Scenic Area and Special Area of Conservation. 

The main project area has been registered under the IUCN Peatland Code. Ongoing monitoring and maintenance will be funded through carbon credit sales in due course.  

It was estimated that the project can generate about 3,500 tCO2e of emission reductions over a period of 55 years.   

Paul Dzialdowski, property portfolio manager with HIE, said:  

“It’s great to see this important restoration project getting under way at Cairngorm. HIE is very mindful of our role as custodians of Cairngorm estate not only as a visitor attraction but also a special mountain environment that needs to be nurtured as part of a unique ecosystem.

“The role that peatland plays in carbon capture will mean that the benefits of this project will extend well beyond Cairngorm and contribute to Scotland’s net zero targets.” 

With a Peatland Restoration Strategy in development, FLS has restored around 4000 hectares of  peat bog across Scotland over the last five years.  

Early indications are that FLS could identify up to 35,000 hectares of potential peatland restoration, and improve the condition of a similar amount of existing blanket bog elsewhere.  

The Scottish Government is seeking the restoration of 250,000ha of peatland across the country by 2030. 

Notes to editors

  1. Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) manages forests and land owned by Scottish Ministers in a way that supports and enables economically sustainable forestry; conserves and enhances the environment; delivers benefits for people and nature; and supports Scottish Ministers in their stewardship of Scotland's national forests and land.

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  3. Media enquiries to Paul Munro, Media Manager, Forestry and Land Scotland Media Office 07785 527590 or