Almost 70% of peat bogs were in the western counties of Donegal, Kerry, Galway and Mayo in 2018, according to the latest data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The CSO has published its ‘Ecosystem Accounts – Peatlands and Heathlands 2018’ document.

The data collection office has said that ecosystem accounting aims to provide a “coherent and harmonised understanding of ecosystems and their relationships to the economy and the overall beneficiaries of ecosystem goods and services”.

Data: CSO Ireland

CSO data on peat bogs and healthlands

The data relating to 2018 shows that almost 70% of peat bogs were in the western counties of Donegal, Kerry, Galway and Mayo, while almost 70% of moors and heathlands were in Cork, Donegal, Kerry and Wicklow.

More than 44% of peat bogs and moors and heathlands occurred in the Natura 2000 network and/or in the areas of national importance protected under the National Heritage Areas (NHA) and proposed NHAs in 2018.

Mostly through extensive commonage grazing, more than 60% of peat bogs and moors and heathlands were used for agriculture in 2018.

The next largest land use categories were peat production for peat bogs at more than 5%, and forestry for moors and heathlands at less than 2%.

Status of peatland

Reported by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) under the EU Directive on the Conservation of Habitats, Flora and Fauna, the overall conservation status of peatland and heathland habitats is reported as bad or inadequate, and most show a deteriorating trend.

Up to 2020, almost 12,000ha of peatlands had been targeted by restoration projects, and more than 20,000ha had been under rehabilitation works.

Based on the CORINE Land Cover dataset, the classes – peat bogs and moors and heathlands cover almost 16% of the national territory in 2018.

CSO data on peat land restoration projects

Peat bogs accounted for almost 14% while moors and heathlands represented less than 2%. Both land cover types are mostly located on the west coast, in the midlands and in the Wicklow Mountains.

Almost 5% of peat bogs have been affected by drainage works under Arterial Drainage and Drainage Districts schemes.