Peatlands and Biodiversity

The term biodiversity is used to describe the variety of all life on earth including all plants and animals, and the ecosystems which sustain them. Peatlands sustain a rich and unique range of habitats and species across the world.

pallas reindeer peatland finland

At the level of individual peatland sites the diversity of organisms can be exceptional. For example the alkaline fen at Fenor Bog in County Waterford, Ireland has 118 plants and 214 species of invertebrate, bird and mammal. The presence and abundance of certain peatland species within a peatland habitat can indicate the health of that habitat.

These indicator species include Saxifraga hirculus, Vertigo geyeri, Sphagnum austinii, Lagopus lagopus and Coenonympha tullia.  Clear altitudinal gardens can be distinguished in peatland biodiversity. The drivers of peatland biodiversity loss are habitat loss, invasive alien species, over-exploitation for agriculture, forestry and peat, nutrient pollution and climate change. 

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