Dubbed the ‘rainforests of Europe’ as they are so diverse in wildlife, peat bogs contain more than 20 per cent of the world’s carbon. However, western Europe has lost most of its natural peat bogs, largely due to peat extraction for horticulture.
Over the last three years, Earthwatch scientists have conducted the first botanical survey of Yelyna, the largest raised peat bog in Europe and a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance, which stretches over 26,175 hectares. In 2002 a series of fires decimated 85 per cent of the bog, resulting in considerable economic loss for local people who rely on the harvesting of swamp cranberries.
This research led to the discovery of 17 new locations of eight rare and endangered plants at Yelyna. In response, the Belarus Ministry of Natural Resources announced the creation of a national peat bog monitoring programme that will ensure plant hotspots at Yelyna are protected.
Two bogs, Velikiiji Moh and Fomino (equating to 5,016 hectares), have also been designated as protected nature sanctuaries as a direct result of the research. Between them, these bogs will absorb and store approximately 1,354.32 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year – equivalent to the combined emissions of almost 300 London households.*
“It is estimated that globally, peat bogs store twice as much carbon as forests,” explains Nat Spring, Head of Research at Earthwatch (Europe). “Even if most people don’t know that the bogs of Belarus exist, protecting them is of vital importance if we are to combat climate change.”
The bogs of Belarus provide an important refuge for migratory birds as they travel between western Europe and northern Russia, including the most threatened species of bird in Europe, the aquatic warbler.
The long-term goal of this research project is to inform the effective conservation of all of the raised bogs of Belarus. Since 2004, 90 Earthwatch volunteers have donated their time to help survey these peat lands. They include members of the public, corporate employees and Eastern European scientists and educators funded through Earthwatch’s capacity building programme.
*According to figures from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, pristine bogs accumulate CO2 at a rate of 0.27 tonnes per hectare per year. Research published in November 2007 by the Energy Saving Trust (EST) combines car emissions with government figures on household CO2 levels. Households in the city of London emit 4.6 tonnes of carbon per year.
Zoe Gamble | alfa
How does the loss of species alter ecosystems?
18.05.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
Excess diesel emissions bring global health & environmental impacts
16.05.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.
The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
29.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
29.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
29.05.2017 | Earth Sciences