For our younger followers – why is Carrington Moss so important?
Much of Carrington Moss is still a wetland moss, which is full of peat. Peat is made from layers of dead plant material. We think the peat is very deep on Carrington Moss because it has been forming for thousands of years. Peat ‘grows’ by only a millimetre a year. A 10 metre deep peat bed takes 9,000 years to form. Peat is spongy and moves a lot when you walk on it.
Peat mosses are very important for plants, wildlife and bird species. On Carrington Moss we have over 20 red listed birds. This means they are globally threatened and each year there are fewer of these birds than there were the year before. There are also some endangered wildlife (like water-voles, which is one of the most endangered species on the Earth, it is under serious threat from habitat loss and predators). The combination of wet and dry areas on Carrington Moss means that we get lots of different kinds of plants and insects compared to, say, a garden at someone’s house.
The great thing about peat is that it helps to capture the carbon in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a gas which is created whenever people or animals breathe out. It is also created when things are burnt. CO2 is a greenhouse gas which helps to keep the heat in the atmosphere of our planet, which we need to live, but ……….. there is a problem! Scientists think that there is now too much heat and too many greenhouse gases are now causing a rise in the temperature of the Earth’s surface. They are calling this global warming and it is causing our climate to change.
CO2 is created when people burn oil or coal, when they drive their cars and when they fly in planes. Since the Industrial Revolution, which began around the 1750’s, people have changed the way things are made. Instead of making things by hand, things began to be made by machines in factories and these factories also released lots of CO2 into the atmosphere. Instead of using horses for transport, people now use cars and planes.
So more people on the Earth, more machines (including cars and planes), more factories means too much CO2! We need to make changes!
Luckily plants use CO2 to make their food. Trees and plants store CO2 in their bodies and in their roots. So we need to plant more of these (not cut them down). Areas like Carrington Moss are very, very important because they help to capture the carbon in the atmosphere and they keep it underground in the peat. We should be restoring, preserving and retaining all the peat mosses to help ensure our planet does not get too warm for people to survive.
This is why it is so important that we do not build houses or roads on Carrington Moss. It is also, of course, an important green space for the wildlife, the birds and the local community, who walk, cycle or horse-ride on it. People go there to do bird watching, nature spotting and, sometimes, just to chill out and feel better.