Peat is a layer of soil that is made up of not yet fully decomposed organic matter. Areas with this layer of soil are called peatlands and, while they can be found all over the world, in at least 169 countries and on all the continents, they only make up 3% of the world’s land area. Despite this, they store almost one third of soil carbon, storing twice as much as all the world’s forests.
Peatlands are incredibly important sources of biodiversity, whilst providing clean water and minimizing flood risks. By storing the huge amounts of carbon that they do, they also help to fight climate change. This is because peatlands accumulate organic matter steadily over millennia, thereby locking in the carbon that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere.
By using peat in products, the existing peatlands are drained and degraded, leading to the release of huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere which in turn contributes about 5% of anthropogenic carbon emissions. For this reason, it is vital to protect and restore them, and use alternatives when sourcing products.
For this reason, the UK government has announced a ban on the sale of peat compost from 2024 and will be funding the restoration of 35,000 hectares of peatland by 2025.
Sherborne Turf strongly believes in this initiative and already provides many alternatives to peat-based composts. Our Sylvagrow, Revive, Composted Bark Fines and Horse Manure composts are all 100% peat-free, and we are working towards ensuring all our composts are the same before 2024.
If you’d like to find out more about this issue, please read The Guardian’s article here.