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  • Carys Mainprize

The Flux Gathering 

Last Monday we gathered our partners and friends to Hetland Hall Hotel to talk about the Flux Tower and ongoing research in D&G.  


The Flux Tower

The flux tower, a first for the region, measures the upward and downward movement of air-parcels containing greenhouses gases like carbon dioxide. Greenhouse gases have increased in our atmosphere due to human activity since the industrial revolution, causing the climate crisis. Understanding how Scotland’s land stores or releases these gases is key to reducing our annual carbon emissions. 

This collaboration between the Crichton Carbon Centre, PeatlandACTION, who funded the equipment and the installation of the tower, the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Forestry and Land Scotland, the James Hutton Institute, and NatureScot will improve the understanding of the carbon balance of commercial forestry on areas of deep peat and will be critical in the Scottish Government’s ambition to reach Net Zero emissions by 2045. 

Our flux gathering welcomed colleagues across these partners and our wider network, such as Buccleuch Estates, Southern Upland Partnership, South of Scotland Enterprise, and Dumfries and Galloway Council. These key individuals and organisations across D&G are continually moving the region’s environmental understanding, management, and restoration forward – we’re so proud to be working alongside them to keep carbon where it belongs. 

Dr Emily Taylor starts off the gathering.

During the day we heard short presentations from: 

  • Dr Emily Taylor, General Manager of CCC, on our widening scope beyond peatlands to look at hydrology and land use and how the flux tower sits nicely in these ambitions.  

  • Chris Boyce from PeatlandACTION on the programme and their monitoring and research on peatland restoration.  

  • Karen Yeung from UKCEH, explaining how flux towers work, talking about the network across the UK and showcasing some data from other flux towers. 

  • Kenny Galt from Galloway Fisheries Trust, who spoke about the Bladnoch catchment water quality monitoring project and report, and the likely causes of the acidic flushes found in the catchment being forestry planted on deep peat. 

Ed Turner, FLS, speaks to the group on site.

A group of attendees went to visit the tower and heard from Ed Turner, Forestry and Land Scotland, about the site and how the data gathered from the tower will be useful for them moving forward. In groups of twos, attendees went up the 14m tower and spoke more with Karen on the instruments attached to the scaffold structure, which will measure the greenhouse gas exchange between the atmosphere and the trees/peat.  

The day culminated in a discussion around next steps for research and funding; achieving funding for monitoring peatland restoration, baseline surveys, and innovative techniques can be a challenge everywhere, but especially when the environmental concerns we are aware of are not yet in the eye of the general public. While peatlands are now in this realm, there is still a lack of greenhouse gas data on ‘forest-to-bog’ restoration which means it is not currently included in the Peatland Code. The Peatland Code is a voluntary certification standard which  allows the validations for carbon units “saved” by undertaking peatland restoration, thus incentivising landowners to restore their degraded peatland. We hope the data from the flux tower will be useful to the IUCN Peatland Programme and the wider research community and help develop the Peatland Code to include forest to bog restoration.  

Attendees get a briefing on the flux tower before climbing.

But there are many other concerns in the region, such as our rivers which are struggling from deadly high temperatures and low acidity, our coastal habitats which are still incredibly undervalued for their carbon storage and seagrass potential, and upland habitats which are a huge swath of our land and yet are largely missed when we speak about the value of the region, and Scotland as a whole.  

The general mood of the gathering at the end was hopeful. However, much of the work spoken about had been done by small organisations working on a shoestring budget, responding to the changes and threats to the landscape that we are best placed to see. If we can continue to support each other and rally funders around the causes that we are at the forefront of, we will continue to push environmental understanding and management forward for both D&G and Scotland.  

Emily Taylor said, “Today was a great opportunity to highlight the flux tower project and the wider research being undertaken by organisations such as Galloway Fisheries Trust. It is quite clear that there is a real appetite to develop a more ambitious programme of evidence gathering to ensure we have regionally relevant data to help support land use decision making in the area”.  


CCC wishes to thank everyone who came along to the gathering and contributed to our discussions and understanding of each other’s work. 

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