I photograph the plants I find in a bog.

 "There's something magic about it,"

says Jim Murphy. I would agree. Murphy lives in Kilkishen, Ireland. He burns turf to heat his home.

What’s turf? It’s a soil made up of decaying plants. It is also called peat. In Ireland, peat comes from bogs. They cover 20 percent of the country. I’m Emily Toner. I study bogs.

A bog is a wetland made from water and plants. As a soil, it is dense and rich. Walking on a bog feels like “walking on water.” That’s because bogs hold water. The moss in bogs holds up to
20 times its weight in water.

Bogs also absorb carbon dioxide from the air. This lessens the greenhouse effect on Earth. How? Carbon dioxide traps heat. Too much of this gas can cause Earth’s temperatures to rise.

This is a bouquet of bog mosses collected from one bog.

a close-up look at sphagnum moss

Storing Carbon

Bogs trap carbon and keep it in place. That helps keep Earth’s temperatures steady. That’s why bogs are called carbon sinks. They store twice the carbon that’s held in forests.

People in Ireland have always relied on bogs for survival. Wild berries and other plants can provide food. And peat cut into bricks to burn as fuel is still a major resource.

Sadly, most of Ireland’s bogs have shrunk. People drain the land. They use it for farming and other things.






Where the Bogs Are


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