Booklet of Peat-based Haiku poems

The arts have a huge role in communicating science to non-scientists and can be a valuable bridging tool in helping interpret scientific principles.

The Haiku (or Sci-cu or Scientific haiku) is short and sweet. Anyone can write one, using the simple formula of 3 lines with syllables counts of 5, 7 and 5 . Trying to distil scientific principles and messages into this most concise mode of communication brings a rigorous discipline to the work that appeals to scientists. Haiku has a traditional association with the natural world and its brevity is also ideal for Twitter with its strict character count, so the CANN project decided to celebrate COP26 by tweeting a Haiku-a-day on the subject of peat’s role in combatting climate change in the run-up to the meeting in November 2021. A brief explanation of the science behind the haiku was also given in 280 characters.

These Haiku Tweets were widely shared and it was one of our most popular social media campaigns ever, so we decided to collect all the haiku together in this little booklet and publish them on the website

To download a copy as pdf, click here

Or for an easier reading experience online, go to the flipbook click here


Wet and Wonderful at Cranny Bogs

A challenging start was made to rewetting Cranny Bogs last week (27th January), as heavy machinery moved in to begin the process of installing hundreds of dams across the site to block the flow of water out of the Special Area of Conservation (SAC). The site covers 78ha on three bogs, Killymoonan, Fallaghearn and Cavan and is located just outside Fintona in County Tyrone.

The original plan was for the digger to start work on one of the drier areas of the bog. However, the recent snowmelt meant that the ground was too wet. This meant that there was a real danger of damaging the site or even losing the digger into the bog! The solution was a suite of bog mats which the digger driver used as a pathway, inching his way across the site, moving the mats from behind the digger, swinging them around and laying them in front as he travelled.

Simon Gray,  a technical officer with Ulster Wildlife, one of the partners in the CANN project, said:

“the ground was rippling up and down like jelly every time the digger moved.”

He then explained the skilled job of creating the dams:

“The contractor digs an anchor point or key out of the drain into the peat, then digs a borrow pit out of denser peat, using this stronger material to pile up a dam in the ditch, placing a layer of vegetation or “scraw” on top.”

“Although the dam sits proud of the site initially this will soon settle,” he continued.

Ulster Wildlife is aiming to install hundreds of dams across all the CANN raised bogs, over 300 at Cranny alone. This will ultimately have a substantial positive impact on the site, raising the water table which will allow sphagnum and other bog flora to survive during the summer and ultimately to begin actively forming peat again. The open water will also provide space for invertebrates such as dragonflies and damselflies, adding colour and life to the bog and supporting the whole food chain.

After only one week, the impact on the site could already be seen. The first dams built had half a meter of water built up behind them, and some had begun to spill over the surrounding area. Just what the project wanted to see. This is the start of a long process, but the impacts will be massive and long-lasting with Cranny Bogs playing an active role in locking carbon away and providing a valuable habitat for our biodiversity


see the work in action on our Youtube channel


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