Farms, factories and fertiliser: the effects of air pollution on peatlands

also being done in the Forest of Bowland


When I was a teenager I spent a lot of time walking the moors of the Peak District National Park in northern England. I guess we all tend to think that the landscapes we grow up with are ‘normal’ and it didn’t occur to me then that there was anything unusual about a landscape of bare black peat, deep erosion gullies and heather. I accepted the chance of sinking to my armpits in sludgy foul-smelling black peat as part of the ‘fun’! However if you head up to the moors with a shovel you can quickly tell that the landscape wasn’t always like this. Dig down a bit and you can find peat full of the remains of Sphagnum mosses, species that you will struggle to find at all in the area today.

The Peak District lies between the great industrial cities of Sheffield and Manchester; the wealth of Victorian…

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