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Peat bog work saves rare wildlife haven; MOORS.

VOLUNTEERS have been repairing one of the region's most important ecological sites.

Buckstones, on Marsden Moor, is home to a number of peat bogs which support some of the country's rarest wildlife.

But air pollution and repeat fires - a problem every year since 2008 - have destroyed hectares of this fragile ecosystem.

But help is at hand. Last weekend volunteers planted 2,000 cottongrass plants to restore areas of bare peat. When peat becomes exposed it is vulnerable to wind and rain erosion.

The work took place a day after International Bog Day, which Marsden Moor's National Trust staff celebrated with a bog discovery trail at Buckstones.

National Trust Project Officer Bob Eades said: "International Bog Day has given us the opportunity to proudly celebrate the work which the trust and its volunteers are doing to save the threatened peat bogs on the hills around Marsden.

"Healthy peat bogs are not only great for wildlife, but they offer many wider benefits, including soaking up rainfall to prevent flooding downstream, providing clean drinking water and storing carbon to prevent climate change.

"Decades of air pollution and moorland fires have taken their toll on the precious peat bogs, leaving areas of bare peat which are vulnerable to erosion.

"With heavy rain the bare peat can just wash away, destroying the habitat and also creating problems downstream when it ends up in the rivers and then in our reservoirs.

"Along with our other restoration works, planting cottongrass is crucial to prevent the bogs from deteriorating, and will hopefully provide the first step to their recovery".

Among the volunteers was Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney.

Mr McCartney added: "I was delighted to kick off my own Volunteering Week by helping the National Trust volunteers plant cottongrass up on the moors above Marsden."

The 2,500-hectare Marsden Moor Estate contains several international conservation orders for its value as a habitat for rare wildlife, including curlews, twites and grouse.

CAPTION(S):

* MOOR WORK: Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney (front right) and other volunteers plant cottongrass to protect Marsden Moor
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Aug 7, 2012
Words:342
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