What Matters to Earthy Matters?
Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Protecting the environment and preserving natural carbon sequestration are among the things that matter to the team at Earthy Matters. An environmental consultancy based in the North West of Ireland, Earthy Matters is involved in the measurement of greenhouse gases in a range of natural and degraded ecosystems, and other environmental services, including:
– Greenhouse gas monitoring
– Ecological surveys
– Natura Impact Statement (Appropriate Assessment)
– Expertise on windfarms on peatlands
– Managing research projects
– Desktop research review
– Editing and proof-reading of scientific papers for publication
A current project, called CarbonRestore, is studying the potential for restored peatlands to provide carbon sequestration. The CarbonRestore project is funded by the Environmental Protection Agency and the semi-state company Bord na Móna.
Pristine or undamaged peatlands play a major role in the regulation and maintenance of the global climate by acting as long-term sinks of atmospheric carbon. As a result of a persistently high water table and the presence of peat forming vegetation within the peatland, carbon inputs (photosynthesis) are greater than carbon losses (respiration, methane (CH4) emissions, leaching and surface runoff of dissolved organic carbon). When a peatland undergoes a change in land use, for example industrial peat extraction, the carbon sink function is seriously impaired. Drainage results in increased emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and the peatland is transformed into a significant carbon source. In Ireland, it is estimated that over the next 30-40 years, the 80,000 hectares of industrial peatlands in Ireland will have reached the end of their economic life. Restoration of these damaged ecosystems offers the potential to enhance biodiversity, reduce gaseous carbon losses and return the carbon sequestration function.