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Peat and peatland statistics

CANADA

In Canada, peatlands represent 90% of the wetlands and cover approximately 113.6 million hectares. From that, 29 744 hectares have been or are currently harvested, which represents only 0.03% of the natural capital

Sphagnum peat moss is harvested mainly for horticultural purposes in Canada. The situation is different elsewhere: 50% of world production is for energy use namely in countries such as Finland, Russia, Ireland, Sweden and, to a lesser extent, in Eastern Europe (USGS, 2012; IPS, pers. comm.).

The Canadian peat production is about 1.14 million tons of peat on a yearly basis (Natural Resources Canada, 2011).

Imports of sphagnum peat moss from Canada represent 97% of total United States imports and 85% of total Canadian production (USGS, 2012).

QUÉBEC

The following figures offer a portrait of the peat moss industry and its related technology (equipment, biolfiltration, etc.).

  • Sales figures of nearly $500 million annually
  • Investments of $15 million per year in innovation, research and development
  • Reinvestment of $35 million per year in equipment, leasehold improvements, etc.
  • Payroll of $62 million per year
  • More than 2,500 direct employment jobs created, principally in the regions
  • Policy of local purchasing, contributing more than $100 million in spending on goods and services
  • More than 50,000 shipments of peat moss-based products exported each year
  • Diversified export market: the U.S., Mexico, South America, Japan, Korea, North Africa, etc.
  • Industry association with Quebec regional development for over 100 years

Source: Data compiled from Québec Peat Moss Producers Association members, 2010.