Environmental artists begin Dartmoor moss-growing project

by | Mar 14, 2023 | Science

Moss habitats are important on the moorland, environmentalists sayEnvironmental artists have begun a project growing moss to help preserve Dartmoor’s habitat.The Art and Energy Collective is inviting people to make small woollen nests in which sphagnum moss can be planted and grown on the moor.Their project, How to Bury the Giant, aims to educate people on how moss eventually forms peatlands which store carbon below ground.They are working with partners and schools on the project. Moss will be planted in small woollen nestsParticipants will help the artists make the nests to grow sphagnum moss in, which will then be planted in the mires – the peatland that the moss lives in.The wool will be used to stop the moss getting washed away and will allow it to get established.Sphagnum moss is able to hold 20 times its own weight in water, making the plant useful for both capturing carbon and preventing flooding downstream, the artists said.Much bigger decorated woollen barriers are also planned to slow the flow of rainwater off Dartmoor and protect the moss that is growing.Dartmoor’s steep-sided river valleys mean it is susceptible to flash flooding after heavy rainfall. Artist Chloe Uden is involved with the projectChloe Uden, from Art and Energy Collective, said: “The climate emergency is the ‘giant’ of our times and so we’ve developed this project looking at moss which is an amazing plant that sequesters carbon and forms peat and builds up layers of earth.”We thought peat is kind of burying all of that carbon – so mosses bury the giant.”The Environment Agency is already working on peatland and mire restoration to keep the water higher up on the moor for longer.The Dartmoor National Park is also exploring ways to work with nature to hold water, including burying logs of local untreated wool, called bunds, to create mini dams.John Howell, owner of Harford Moor o …

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