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Helicopter to drop thousands of plants in Forest of Bowland
A HELICOPTER will drop thousands of heather plug plants as part of a peat restoration project in the Forest of Bowland.
The plants, which are being dropped with lime, fertiliser, seed and heather brash, harvested heather, will be planted later in the spring to help re-establish vegetation cover.
Diggers are currently being used to improve eroding peat as part of the project which is being carried out by Lancashire County Council, the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and the Environment Agency.
Dams will also be introduced to the Bleasdale Fells, near Chipping, to slow the flow of water currently washing the valuable peat downstream.
The venture is being undertaken to improve the bed of turf, which provides a number of important functions for the environment and wildlife.
Peat stores carbon which cuts the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere, provides habitat for a range of species, improves water quality, and reduces flood risk.
The area is the largest expanse of blanket bog and heather moorland in Lancashire.
It provides a suitable breeding habitat for upland birds including golden plover, ring ouzel, meadow pipit, skylark, whitchat, merlin, peregrine, hen harrier and short-eared owl.
Alison Whalley, the Environment Agency project manager, said: “This partnership project has been instrumental in restoring damage caused to our peatlands over many years.
“The work will help ensure the local community and wildlife can continue to enjoy the beauty of the Forest of Bowland for many years to come.”
Tarja Wilson, senior environmental projects officer from Lancashire County Council, said: “This restoration work will ensure that people can continue to enjoy our special places and landscapes."
The Bowland Fells are also home to rare upland plants including cloudberry, cranberry crowberry and bog rosemary.
Jeremy Duckworth, owner of the Bleasdale Estate, said: ”The moor has outstanding natural beauty. It helps attract thousands of visitors a year to Bowland, which in turn pumps vital money into our remote rural economy."