After-use of Peatlands
Transitioning of peat extraction sites after peat production to new uses is one key area for responsible peatland management. This is important from the climate perspective and represents broader responsibility in the peat industry in the form of a commitment to not leaving behind scarred and unattractive landscapes.
Traditions for peatland use and ecological conditions vary between countries. After-use may include rehabilitation of the peatland ecosystem, alteration of land use to forestry, agriculture, recreation or urban development, or a combination of different land use forms. National legislation, land owners, and environmental policy guidelines set the outlines for possible after-use regimes in many countries.
As many peat extraction sites are located in low-lying areas, they begin to accumulate water naturally after peat production ends. This creates the opportunity for paludification and the creation of wetlands and lakes. This is done in Finland, Sweden and Ireland, where they often become very popular with bird species that require wetland habitats. Former peat extraction sites are often also located in remote areas, which makes them well-suited for wind and solar power generation, as shown in Ireland.
Species diversity on former production sites
BioBlitz is a scientific race against time that takes place around the world each year to measure species diversity at competing locations. For 24 hours from 18-19 May 2012, a large team of experts identified as many species as they could, as fast as they could, in Ireland’s Lough Boora cutaway bog complex. A total of 940 species was recorded during Lough Boora’s BioBlitz in 2012.
A guide booklet of Finnish after-use practises
You can study Finnish peat production after-use practises from here. Rewetting is one relevant after-use format in Finland done in the scale of some thousand hectares so far. Some Finnish rewetting examples are imaged below.
Visit Lough Boora Discovery Park and its wetlands in Ireland. The park is a former peat production site.