Peatlands: Linking carbon, water, biodiversity and climate content

Peatlands: Linking carbon, water, biodiversity and climate

Peatlands may cover about 3% of the global land area but contain 25% of the global soil carbon stock: that is twice the amount found in the world’s forests. In Scotland, peatland soils cover around 20 % of the land area holding an estimated 1600 million tonnes of carbon and the Scottish Government’s climate change plan 2018-2032 update aims to restore at least 250,000 hectares of degraded peatland by 2030. Healthy peatlands act not only as important carbon sinks, but contain rich habitat and biodiversity, including a wide range of threatened and endemic species; improve water quality and reduce flooding risk; and provide grazing land and recreational spaces. The ERI benefits from unrivalled access to The Flow Country peatlands of Caithness and Sutherland: covering 4000 km2, they represent largest expanse of blanket bog in Europe and a site of global significance.


  • Peatlands resilience in a changing world
  • The fate of organic matter from source to sink
  • Sustainable land use and thriving communities

For more information on the Environmental Research Institute, research portfolio and people, please visit:

landscape shot of the flow country in Sutherland