Peatlands – the superheroes of nature

Peatlands – the superheroes of nature

Hans Schutten, from our Advisory board, writes on the magic of peatland and why we at Caledonian Climate have chosen to focus our efforts on restoring and protecting this incredible asset in the fight against climate change. Read on to learn more…

Peatlands (and wetlands in general) are the superheroes of nature. They occur in over 180 countries, and their conservation and restoration are essential to solving the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, and securing a healthy and prosperous future for humanity. Some countries, such as Scotland, have begun to unlock these nature-based solutions with large-scale conservation and restoration efforts. The start has been made in the last decade, but it is clear that a step change is needed to meet Scotland’s’ climate ambition.

Peatlands have historically been closely associated with Scottish people and culture and it is here where the path to the future lies; ensuring that the management of this amazing natural resource provides rural jobs, restores its amazing beauty, and locks up the carbon that is threatening our existence. 

Scotland’s peatlands are truly magical and harbour amazing plants such as the insect eating sundew and are the living place for iconic birds, such as greenshank, dunlin, and Golden plovers. 

Wooden floor of an Iron Age roundhouse revealed in excavations at Glastonbury lake Village (IUCN Peatland Programme)

Peatlands have played a key role in Scotland’s history and many key archaeological sites are located in and on peatlands and it is therefore only fitting that they unlock the way to our future.

Peatlands lock up carbon

Peatlands are the planet’s biggest terrestrial carbon store, and store more carbon per hectare than any other ecosystem. These organic soils lock up carbon as long as they remain wet. If managed well they can continue to sequester equally large amounts from the atmosphere.

Peat covers about 3% of the global land surface (4 million km2) and is currently estimated to contain the planet’s largest store of carbon. Peatlands store about 30% of terrestrial carbon (Parish et al., 2008), or approximately 400 to 700 gigatonnes.

More than 20% of Scotland is covered by peat. Peatlands hold most of Scotland’s carbon store (they are estimated to hold the equivalent of 140 years’ worth of Scotland’s total annual greenhouse gas emissions) and so are vital in helping us to tackle climate change. (source

As this map shows, peatland occurs throughout Scotland:

Carbon and Peatland 2016 map – Scotland’s soils (

Pink areas refer to Class 1 nationally important carbon-rich soils, deep peat and priority peatland habitat. These are areas likely to be of high conservation value.

Restoring the functionality of Scotland’s peatlands is at the heart of Caledonian Climate’s mission and working together we can ensure that current degraded lands that emit carbon are restored to stop the emissions and start the carbon capture or sequestration.

For more information on this article, please contact:

Freddie Ingleby

Managing Director

+44 (0) 7840 998 944

About Caledonian Climate

Working responsibly with the custodians of Scotland’s beautiful countryside, Caledonian Climate is committed to tackling the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss.

To achieve this, we talk to forward-thinking businesses who want to fulfil their ambitions for carbon emission reductions through high-quality carbon credits with multiple co-benefits. We then partner them with landholders in the Scottish Highlands, maximising the ecological value and sustainability of their estates.

Building on our significant experience, and guided by a distinguished Advisory Board, Caledonian Climate is delivering the benchmark for long-term restoration of Scotland's degraded peatlands, locking away the carbon for good.

Our work also enhances biodiversity, improves water quality, boosts local economies and creates a compelling story for all of our partners to share.

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