2.3 Answers Beware the insectivorous plants of peatlands

Here are all the answers to the questions posed as part of the Beware: the insectivorous plants of peatlands activity.




Source of energy (like fossil fuels)

Carbon sink

Source of nutrients to be added to compost for gardening or farming

Flood regulation

Oxygen production

Cultural significance leading to tourism prospects

Do you think peat is a renewable or non-renewable form of natural capital?

Peat soil is a non-renewable form of natural capital, in fact, all soils are. Soils form over thousands of years and peat soil takes as long as 10years to accumulate just one centimetre of soil. It is this slow process that makes it non-renewable as it cannot be replaced as fast as it is being used up.

Describe two of the impacts created by peat removal on ecosystems

Peat cutting can reduce habitats leading to a loss of species (like the sundew). An indirect impact of further climate change consequences can be caused by the loss of an important carbon sink.

Justify whether or not you think peat cutting is sustainable

Peat cutting really isn’t sustainable as the nature of the non-renewable form of natural capital means it cannot be replaced as fast as it is being used up. There is really no need today to use peat as a fuel (at least in the UK and Ireland anyway) as there are so many alternative forms of energy.

Using the words below, explain why sundews are found in in soils with slow organic decomposition rates

Sundews can be found in peat (or boggy soils) around the world. In these soils there is a very low amount of aerobic decomposition of dead plant material because of the very wet acidic conditions. Anaerobic decomposition by denitrifying bacteria can also occur which leads to a lack of nitrates in the soil. Sundews can use the nutrients from digesting flies and other insects instead which allows them a competitive advantage over other photosynthesising organisms.

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