What is a bog mat?
What do they do, when are they needed and what are their problems?
Bog mats are laid across soft ground to create a temporary road in areas that can’t support heavy machinery. Places that use bog mats include construction sites, mines, event setups on delicate ground, conservation areas and incomplete roadworks.
What are the benefits of bog mats?
Bog mats have two main benefits: ground protection and access provision.
Ground protection is the main reason that bog mats are used in the events industry. When vans and utes are needed to set up an event, they may need to drive onto freshly laid grass or delicate ground. Without bog mats, the vehicles would destroy the ground and the aesthetic of the event very quickly.
Conservation areas also benefit from the ground protection offered by bog mats. Scientists and conservationists sometimes need to access land with heavy machinery and vehicles, but it would be counter-productive to destroy the land in the meantime.
Bog mats protect the ground from damage by creating a solid, durable barrier that can withstand heavy weights.
They also support machinery and enable access to areas that would be otherwise inaccessible. Soft ground does not let heavy vehicles travel far and attempting to do so can end in a bog situation.
Bog mats allow vehicles, equipment and other machinery to reach the less accessible areas.
When might bog mats be used?
To show how widely used they are, here are some less obvious scenarios that need bog mats.
1. An outside wedding
If you plan to have your wedding outside, you are probably imagining beautiful white sand, luscious grass or fancy paving. You might, however, also be imagining beautiful tents, white carpet runners, an arbour and intricate strings of lighting.
But, the more remote, the more privacy and intimacy you have at your wedding. An area that’s remote for you and your guests is also remote for your setup crew. Bog mats allow events teams to access a location without destroying the ground.
2. A coal mine
Coal mines aren’t best known for their environmental responsibility. From contaminating waterways to polluting the air, the entire industry is a cause of concern for many Australians. Many of these are unavoidable consequences of coal mining, but ground destruction is not one of them.
Any immediate surface being mined will be destroyed, but the ground around it can be easily protected with bog mats. They sit on the soft ground and create a strong surface for vehicles, minimising destruction caused by the coal mining industry.
3. A new countryside highway
Another industry that causes considerable environmental damage is roadworks. When a highway is built over a remote area, for example, it destroys not only the land underneath but the ecosystems around it.
Where animals live in the surrounding areas, roadkill is very likely, and noise and pollution from cars and roadworks damage the areas further. Bog mats minimise this additional damage while allowing construction to happen at all.
4. A national park research project
National parks are intrinsically conservation areas, but research and renovation are necessary to maximise these efforts. Where humans interact with nature, some destruction is likely, but environmental scientists and park rangers want to keep negative effects close to none.
To allow access to protected areas, a temporary road is needed. To avoid destruction of a national park, researchers may use bog mats to build this temporary road.
5. An archaeological dig
Like in conservation projects, archaeological workers do not want to destroy the landscape they work on. Where excavation is done, there may be evidence of ancient civilisations underneath the ground.
To avoid destroying the artefacts and remains they search for, archaeologists need access that won’t damage the site.
6. A farm after a storm
While tractors are often used to rescue other bogged vehicles, they sometimes get stuck themselves. In wet areas and farmland, bog mats are a necessity.
As well as being dangerous for farmers, softer ground is more easily damaged. Protecting the ground is as important for a farmer’s income as protecting a vehicle.
What are some problems with bog mats?
- When they are made from recycled HDPE: Every time HDPE is remelted, the individual chemical chains become weaker and less flexible. So, bog mats made from recycled HDPE tend to be weaker.
- When their pattern is too high: The pattern on bog mats provides friction and raises them from the ground. But, if these are too high, they become a trip hazard. High patterns are also not suitable for hard floors such as driveways. Low-profile bog mats should be used in these instances.
- When black bog mats are used on grass: As black absorbs heat very well, they are at risk of scorching grass and other delicate ground. White ones should be used in hot climates instead.
- When they are used in rivers: River mud is extremely soft, and bog mats will sink and crack if attempted to be used.
So, what are bog mats and how do they protect the ground?
Bog mats give workers the ability to access remote areas without destroying the surrounding environment. This creates employment opportunities, enables research to dive deeper and helps businesses to increase their profits and avoid financial losses.
They also protect entire ecosystems from habitat pollution and destruction. In industries that are fundamentally bad for the environment, they help to minimise the damage. Bog mat problems do exist, so keep these in mind when choosing yours.