The importance of marshland has traditionally been related to the financial exploitation of its natural resources such as wood and peat. Over half of the current almost ten million hectares of marshland has been drained for forestry use. Around one-fifth of the drained marshland area has, however, been found to be unsuitable for forestry use due to its poor timber production capacity. The future use of poorly productive marshland remains unsure.
Another usage that changes marshland nature to a large extent is peat production, which also contaminates water systems in the vicinity of peat production areas. Peat combustion is a significant source of greenhouse gases. Peat production secures domestic and regional energy production, and provides jobs for the residents of remote districts.
The utilisation of peat moss has been studied for a long time. Peat moss contains sugars, due to which it can be used in the production of bioethanol, which is suitable for use as vehicle fuel or as a substrate in greenhouses.
NRIF research has collected data for use in regional planning
Natural Resources Institute Finland has collected data for the reconciliation of the different uses of the marshes located in Northern Ostrobothnia where forestry, peat production, nature preservation, recreational use and reindeer husbandry are the focus of the reconciliation.
The reconciliation of usage methods related to marshland is currently being studied in, for example, the extensive LIFEPeatLandUse project funded by the EU LIFE+ Environmental Programme.
Picture on top of the page: Erkki Oksanen, Luke