Help build a bigger home for nature
Airds Moss nature reserve in East Ayrshire covers one of the few remaining areas of blanket bog in south-west Scotland. Over the years we’ve painstakingly restored this special habitat and Airds Moss is now home to significant numbers of nationally declining or endangered wading birds including curlews, snipe, lapwings and golden plovers.
Now we have the opportunity to buy and restore 920 hectares (the equivalent of around 1480 football pitches!) of degraded land next to the reserve that will turn this corner of Scotland into a bigger, better home for nature.
We've already raised £110,750 of the £221,000 we need to raise by the end of March 2018. Please join us in raising the final £110,250 to secure this amazing home for wildlife.
Why is Airds Moss so special?
Of all the many habitats that your support helps protect, peatland is particularly special because of its important role in tackling climate change.
Blanket bog is a type of peatland habitat which extracts vast amounts of carbon from the atmosphere and stores it in the soil. As well as performing this invaluable climate-regulating service, blanket bogs form a vital ecosystem that supports many rare species of plants and wildlife.
Thanks to supporters like you, at Airds Moss we already manage 440 hectares of important blanket bog. As well as the declining wading birds that live here, you may often be lucky enough to glimpse some of the stunning raptors that make their home here: from the magnificent merlin, to the peregrine falcon, to the short-eared owl and hen harrier.
Airds Moss is also an archaeologically significant site. Elements of the only 18th century charcoal-fired blast furnace for commercial-scale production of iron in south Scotland are still clearly visible.
The ironworks were constructed by the Earl of Cathcart in the early 1730s to take advantage of the rich array of natural resources that were needed for iron production.
Nowadays the site is a tranquil place. It takes a great leap of imagination to understand how noisy and smelly the ironworks would have been in its heyday.
How will my support help?
Green plants and trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as part of the vital process of photosynthesis. Normally when plants die, this carbon is released back into the atmosphere. The mosses and plants in a blanket bog, however, do not decay and so the peat bogs act as a carbon store or “carbon sink”.
Sadly, over the previous centuries open-cast coal mining, over-grazing and attempts to drain the land for agriculture improvement have caused considerable damage, leaving the blanket bog in a severely degraded condition. In this state, the peat has dried out and releases the stored carbon dioxide, contributing to climate change.
However, we’ve been hard at work restoring Airds Moss’ blanket bog. This hard work is paying off and we’ve seen key species return and thrive.
We can now complete the jigsaw by adding 920 hectares of seriously ecologically degraded land next to the reserve.
We need to raise the funds by the end of March 2018 so that we can continue our work restoring the blanket bog to its former glory and provide and bigger and better home for nature.