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SphagnumThe first thing to say about the Portmoak Community Woodlands is they they are bonny wee places to go for a walk. But how did they get to be like they are? On the geological timescale, how was our landscape formed? Later on, how did the activities of people change things, and what are we doing today to try to restore our woodlands back to a more natural ecosystem?

Here is some background reading:

portmoak moss public management

Woodland Trust Management Plan: Portmoak Moss

portmoak moss public managemen

Woodland Trust Management Plan: Kilmagad Wood

Let's talk bogs

Let's Talk Bogs

Management Options for Portmoak Moss

Management Options for Portmoak Moss

For the period 2017 - 2022 For the period 2016 - 2021 One of our team, Marjorie Smith, got funded by the Scottish Government and the Primary Science Teaching Trust to develop this excellent resource on bogs Consultant report by Robin Payne, sponsored by LLLP and SNH, February 2015
177 KB .pdf 154 KB .pdf Web link 2.6 MB .pdf

Boginar 2012

Boginar 2012

Portmoak Moss: an historical perspective

Portmoak Moss: an historical perspective

Biodiversity action plans

Biodiversity action plans

Bog restoration: theory and practice

Bog restoration: theory and practice

Final report on the Boginar, 16 Nov 2012 A time-line of the evolution of Portmoak Moss Introduction and overview on biodiversity The development of peat bogs and restoration work at Portmoak Moss
1.3 MB .pdf 469 KB .pdf 73 KB .pdf 30 KB .pdf


Sphagnum Moss Identification

Guide to identifying sphagnum      
1.3 MB .pdf      


Nature Notes

Lots of people noticed what was going in the world in Summer 2020 - here's what they saw:

Insects, moths, butterflies, dragonflies, bumblebees

There's an amazing number of insects living in the Moss - and the diversity has increased a lot because of the work that has been done to restore the peat dome. Butterfly Conservation www.eastscotland-butterflies.org.uk do an incredible job of monitoring and recording moths and butterflies across the UK. Our local people are George Guthrie and Duncan Davidson. If you ever see strange lights in the Moss late at night, there's a good chance that it's George trapping moths and butterflies ready to identify, count and record them. Sometimes they put on special events for us too.

Water table data

We've been gathering data about the change in water levels since the moss was cleared and the drainage channels were dammed. This graph shows what's happened. It's pretty obvious that when it doesn't rain much, the water level goes down and when it does rain the water level goes up. The other thing that we can say is that overall the water level has risen by more than 350 mm and on average is often less than 100mm below the surface.

In 2015 the surface of the raised bog was mulched: that meant that it was leveled and drainage routes were filled in with peat. We saw that the water table got closer to the surface but where the level dropped again - this was a period of low rainfall for a couple of months.

In 2016 the steepest edges were reprofiled to stabilise them and we put in sub-surface peat dams to reduce the channeling of water beneath the surface. That raised the water table by another 50mm and after rainy periods there are many areas of standing water across the peat dome - just what we want to see.

There was a long dry period in 2017 when the water table dropped right back to the level before we started the restoration project but the important thing is that as soon as we got rain the water table shot back up to the new high level. We saw the same thing again in the dry summers of 2018 and 2019.

Data is a bit sparse for while due to Covid getting in the way. The summer of 2022 was exceptionally dry and the water table dropped back to the lowest level it's been since we started surveying. We needed some rain!

Now we're back on track with monitoring. Dry periods lower the water table but it still seems to bounce back when we get rain.


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Portmoak Moss - Woodland Trust

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Woodland Trust Scotland

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