IT is one of Western Europe's rarest and most threatened habitats, but now one of the few surviving raised peat bogs in central Scotland is being restored with the help of a specialist machine.

Around 94 per cent of this unique habitat in the UK has been destroyed or damaged.

The purpose-built mulcher unit has cleared and levelled a 30 acre core area of Portmoak Moss, across Loch Leven from Kinross.

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It is helping to rewet the internationally important habitat that has suffered from decades of draining.

The raised bog is home to a number of rare species of moss and wildlife ­including dragonflies and damselflies.

Gary Bolton from the Woodland Trust Scotland said: "We're levelling the core area of the raised bog to encourage rewetting, while encouraging native woodland over the rest of the site.

"This summer we've been working to level out ridges left from afforestation ploughing, reducing the size of tree stumps left over as a result of commercial conifer planting, and removing invasive scrub.

"This work should help to spread water across the bog, bringing natural processes back to life, encourage more raised bog species and reduce natural regeneration of scrub on the raised bog habitat."