Welsh uplands desert.

Went for a walk today. Hell, this is diary mode. No matter – that’s what this is gonna have to be – mix of thought out and thorough essays with day to day soundings. So I took a lot of pictures which will follow this onto the blog. It really is analogous to if not a desert then a desolate and destroyed, stark and profoundly un-natural landscape which does not touch what it must have been or, indeed, could be again. I saw one tree in the land I walked. Yeah, in the distance there were forestry commission conifer water acidification plantations but i only encountered one three food specimen on my walk. It, too, was a Sitka Spruce.

There was afair amount of raised bog sometimes three to four foot above the lower hard surface of the plain such as where streams leaked through. At such points clear sections through the bogs were visible showing rich black compressed organic matter, saturated with water. I walked up to Llyn Conwy, the local reservoir set up as quite an attractive little lake. But I wouldn’t want to drink the water which looked foul – full of acid peat bog extract and some conifer forest run off from the far side of the lake. They did fish the lake though – or at least an angling club sign was on display, though I saw no fishermen and couldn’t imagine the fish were happy.

Anyway, I tried to estimate the weight of accumulated carbon over the area. One cubic metre of raised bog or sunken swamp – there were both present, of course – would be mostly water but would still have considerable dry mass. How much? Bale of peat weighs 50 kg and you’d get get 12 to 14 in a cubic metre. 600-700 kg and although damp that peat is probably only 10 to 20% water. Hal;f a tonne for a cubic metre seems reasonable guesstimate if very compacted and or drained. Otherwise it could be down to, say, 250kg.

Right a hectare is one million square metres so so 250 to 500 tonnes dry peat. Which is not far from the weight of an equivalent oak forest on the same area. The BIG PROBLEM is these recidivists who say “Oh trees will dry out the swamp and send all the peat carbon back up into the atmosphere”. I’m very not sure that there is any truth in that comment. After all how did we get coal and oil if trees sent the carbon back up into the skies? More sensible is to think that appropriate vegetation – willow, alder, birch, followed by hazel, hawthorn and trusty oaks – would just bind the bulk of the carbon into the soils and gently feed from it, sweetening the waters as they drained off and freeing nutrients previously tightly tied in by the extreme acidity.

It was a sandals and sunshine wander with no map . I was deeply chuffed when my round walk took me back over a brim of a hill and fifty metres above my car. Build in compass in my head. He he.


About greencentre

Non grant supported hence independent scientist, green activist, writer and forest planter.
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One Response to Welsh uplands desert.

  1. Pingback: Further to the above « Five Trillion Trees

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