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Peatland restoration

Peatland restoration goal

The goal of restoration of peatlands after peat harvesting is to re-establish self-regulatory mechanisms that will lead back to a naturally functioning peat accumulating ecosystem. This includes the re-establishment of typical peatland plant cover and the hydrological regime needed to maintain the system.

The restoration approach for bogs, called the moss-layer transfer technique, was developed through an extensive research program and is based on two main actions:

  1. Active reintroduction of peatland plant species, along with various techniques to improve micro-environmental conditions for plant establishment;
  2. Rewetting.

Machines widely used for agricultural or peat extraction purposes can be used to collect and spread plants and mulches, allowing the restoration technique to be applied on large peat surfaces.

Peatland restoration is a multi-year process. Its success is gauged by studying the growth of vegetation communities and other factors that affect the ecosystem, such as hydrology, carbon cycling, microbiology and biogeochemistry.

Download the Peatland Restoration Guide  (Quinty and Rochefort, 2003)

Peatland Restoration – Operations Manual (APTHQ, 2003)

Steps leading to peatland restoration

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Fen restoration

Other restoration approaches are being developed by the PERG for peatlands with conditions more similar to fens. These approaches involve raising the water table and reintroducing target plant species.

Other reclamation options

Depending on the specific context (environmental, social, economic) and regulations, other reclamation options can be implemented, such as tree plantation, berry cultivation and marsh/pond creation.

See the definition of Restoration, Reclamation, Rehabilitation concepts