Nature Champions: Rusty Bog-moss

© Michael Scott - Plantlife

Rusty Bog-moss is a type of Sphagnum which forms hummocks and is brown like a ginger biscuit. It is found in wet bogs or at high altitudes. It is an important peat-forming species in northern countries. 

Bogs are areas of land where a layer of peat has accumulated naturally and is kept wet by precipitation (rain, snow, fog, etc). Peat is formed under waterlogged conditions from carbon-rich, dead and decaying plant material, mainly from Sphagnum species. Sphagnum are ‘keystone species’ producing an environment which many other species need to survive. 

Only found occasionally in Scotland, particularly in the North West, it is very rare in England and Wales.

Action Needed

  • Restore peatlands by rewetting bogs and repairing historical damage.

  • Re-vegetate bare peat and reintroduce Sphagnum.

  • Introduce a ban on peat extraction and sale for horticultural use, as well as a ban on burning on peatlands and introduce a licencing regime for muirburn in Scotland’s uplands.


Peatlands are one of Scotland’s largest degraded ecosystems. In degraded condition, they are poor for wildlife and emit large amounts of carbon. Artificial drainage, over-grazing, non-native invasive tree species and nitrogen pollution all threaten our precious peatlands.

MSP Nature Champion

Alex Cole-Hamilton

Member for: Edinburgh Western

Region: Lothian

Party: Scottish Liberal Democrats

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