BNM deploys new excavators for bog rehabilitation work

Bord na Mona (BNM) has deployed two new excavators on its lands as part of a plan to re-wet thousands of hectares of bogs across Ireland.

The machines are used to block decades-old drains on the bogs, causing them to re-wet and start growing again, Bord na Mona explained.

Reportedly costing in excess of €100,000 each, the two new machines have been engineered specifically for bog work; they have been deployed in recent weeks to locations in counties Longford and Tipperary.

Image source: Bord na Mona

The excavators were described as “massive bog defibrillators” by Bord na Mona ecologist David Fallon. He claimed that the machines will give the bogs the push they need “start living again”.

Speaking on Clonwhelan Bog, near Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford, Fallon said: “Their arrival here is a massive boost to the task of blocking the drains that will raise the water levels and re-wet the bog.

“Once the bog is wet, the live mosses which build the bog will return in force. In locations like this, when the live mosses are active again the bog can return to being a carbon sink.

We hear a lot about the effectiveness of rainforests in this regard, but Irish bogs can be just as effective in drawing down and storing carbon.

“These rehabilitated bogs also have the immediate benefit of providing new habitats for rare Irish flora and fauna. We have 162ha of bog here that, once re-wetted, we hope will become a habitat for a number of precious species, including the curlew.”

Bord na Mona has announced that it has progressed the rehabilitation of over 700ha of cutaway bog in the past year – adding to the 15,000ha of bog already rehabilitated by the company.

A target to rehabilitate at least 10,000ha of bog in the coming decade has been set.