Britain's Highest Bog: Can we unlock its secrets?

Olivia Bragg, Philip J Bashford, Andrew Black, Graeme M Bragg, Jane K Hart, Kirk Martinez

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The Glenfeshie Mòine Mhór (Great Moss) is Britain’s highest bog, the largest bog in the Cairngorm Mountains (Scotland) and a water source area for the River Spey. The area was managed primarily for sport hunting for about two centuries, but deer numbers have been heavily reduced in the last decade to allow regeneration of natural woodland and the return to more natural condition of all ecosystems including peatland. However, it may not be realistic to expect spontaneous improvement in peatland condition and ecosystem services provision in the harsh environment of the Mòine Mhór, which retains snow cover for more than half the year and differs floristically from lower-altitude bogs. To understand whether and where management intervention may be required, we need first to understand how the system works at scales ranging from microform to macrotope, and from sub-catchment to whole-system level. Multi-disciplinary condition and process studies (involving various collaborators) are in progress, with a current emphasis on streamflow generation and fluvial carbon loads. This presentation develops two sub-themes. First, ground survey and GIS analysis are used to address the questions: what are the special features of this bog; what is the nature and extent of degradation; and what are the implications for water delivered to the outflow streams? Secondly, a striking feature is the bare peat patches which were favourite resting places for deer on warm, dry summer days. The occurrence of seasonally extreme surface conditions seems a likely factor in preventing their recolonisation by bog plants now. Information about these conditions that cannot readily be accessed through direct observation, originating from temperature sensors and delivered at 60-minute intervals via a low power internet link, is explored in this context. Finally, we discuss aspects of the suitability of our investigation methods for remote and intermittently accessible field sites such as the Mòine Mhór.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 15th International Peat Congress 2016
Place of PublicationKuching, Malaysia
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016
Event15th International Peat Congress 2016 - Pullman Hotel, Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
Duration: 15 Aug 201619 Aug 2016 (Link to conference website)


Conference15th International Peat Congress 2016
Internet address


  • bare peat
  • Cairngorms
  • environmental sensor network
  • Internet of Things
  • vegetation


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