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).
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.