Garriskil Bog in Westmeath is among a number of Ireland’s most important raised bogs to be restored in a €5.5 million programme, with €4 million of this coming from the EU’s LIFE fund.
The restoration of active raised bogs in counties Westmeath, Offaly, Roscommon, Galway, Cavan, Meath, and Longford has been selected for funding in the latest round of support from LIFE.
This means the communities around the region will see funds available for construction works such as raising water levels and restoring the natural condition of this increasingly rare habitat. The project will run from 2016 to 2020.
Active raised bogs, as opposed to the more common blanket bogs, are unique to the Midlands and have been referred to as Ireland’s rain forest, being of great importance for biodiversity, flood control, and control of carbon emissions.
The areas of active raised bogs on protected SACs in Ireland decreased by 38 per cent between 1995 and 2011, the main reason being the pressure of turf cutting. The EU’s LIFE programme supports nature, conservation, and climate action projects across the EU. Previously, the LIFE programme has supported the Burren LIFE project ‘Farming for Conservation,’ which helped sustainable farming thrive alongside the delicate ecosystems and outstanding beauty of the Burren.