Peak District MTB volunteers help with Sphagnum Moss planting

Peak District MTB volunteers helped Moorlands Climate Action plant Sphagnum Moss on the Roaches estate this weekend as part of a joint project with Staffordshire Wildlife Trust.

Moorlands Climate Action is a climate change campaign group based in the Staffordshire Moorlands. They arranged a series of Sphagnum Moss planting sessions in collaboration with the Roaches land managers Staffordshire Wildlife Trust. Instead of our regular trail maintenance, Peak District MTB volunteers helped out with this great initiative.

What’s the big deal with Sphagnum Moss? Jon Rowe from Staffordshire Wildlife Trust explains:

The Sphagnum Moss is being planted as part of a water and environment grant; we are planting 50,000 plugs made up of 5-6 different species of sphagnum species. 
These plants are ecosystem engineers and will store 18-24 times their weight in water as well as helping to form peat which will also store water. They add surface roughness to the area slowing the flow of water off the land and giving it a chance to soak into the absorbent soils. This creates the ideal conditions for rare and uncommon plant species such as Cotton grass, Cranberry and Bog Asphodel to grow, and provides surface water and pools for wading birds and invertebrates. As well as this Sphagnum will store carbon while forming future peat layers.
At the Roaches we are looking to build in as much resilience to climate change and future fires by keeping the area as wet as possible supporting biodiversity, storing water and carbon, and limiting the effects of wildfire. 
Studies on the Roaches have shown that areas with a high Sphagnum dominance before the fire have recovered quicker post-fire. All this water storage may also help prevent flooding in the future by releasing water slowly over time acting as a sponge for high rainfall on high ground. 

Dan, Jaime and Dan from Peak District MTB planting Sphagnum Moss plugs

Today was something a little different – a great cross-group collaboration repairing the fire damage from the Summer of 2018 and creating a more resilient eco-system for the future.
Our volunteers are on the Roaches estate on the second Sunday of every month maintaining the trails for all user groups. If you want to get involved, contact Dan.

8 March 2020