The team have been working hard to carry out further bog management at the Carmel National Nature Reserve. Here's an update from Wildlife Trust Officer, Rebecca Killa.
We have carried out further management on our bog at Carmel, including additional ditch blocking. By driving plastic piling into the peat we have created an impenetrable barrier in the ditch.
This holds the water on the bog for longer and helps keep the peat wet. They also create a bit of open water which is quickly utilized by amphibians and the larvae of dragonflies and damselflies.
Another aspect of trying to maintain wet conditions is to reduce tree cover. Trees take up water and release it into atmosphere through evapotranspiration.
The Carmarthenshire volunteers have spent a number of days on the bog with tree poppers, large leavers that clamp the tree and pull it out roots and all.
This year we were also excited to introduce cattle for the 1st time. We have 4 small Hereford bulls on there at present. They are doing a fantastic job of eating molinia, a dominant grass that if left unchecked creates a thick impenetrable thatch. They also seem to enjoy the willow scrub, helping us to keep it in check.
Bogs are an important habitat in their own right and are a home for often very specialized wildlife, such as round leaved sundew. Bog bean and royal fern are two of the wetland plants that also do well at Carmel bog.
Keeping bogs wet is very important as wet conditions encourage the growth of sphagnum moss, the building block of peat.
This keeps the bog functioning and operating as a carbon sink. Also by keeping the peat from drying out we are ensuring carbon that has been trapped and stored for hundreds if not thousands of years stays in the ground.
Wildlife Trust Officer, Rebecca Killa