Nature Champions: Rusty Bog-moss


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 through adjusting land management (eg grazing or burning management, tree removal) and blocking drainage ditches 
  • Re-vegetate bare peat and reintroduce Sphagnum.
  • Introduce a ban on peat extraction and sale for horticultural use, as well as a as well as a ban on burning on peatlands and introduce a licencing regime for muirburn in Scotland’s uplands.


Lowland raised bog in the UK has decreased by around 94% over the last two centuries. The main factors which have led to this decline are agriculture, afforestation and peat extraction.

MSP Nature Champion

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