After-use of Finnish cut-away peatlands: recent land-use trends and geology as a planning tool

Päivi Picken

After Wise Use – The Future of Peatlands, Proceedings of the 13th International Peat Congress: Peatland After-Use

after-use, cutaway-peatlands, geochemistry, sulphur

Picken 2008: After-use of Finnish cut-away peatlands


The area covered by peatlands in Finland is 8.9 million hectares. Approximately 60,000 ha are currently in peat production and 20,000ha have already been released from production. Agriculture (including field energy crop growing) and forestry are the most common after-use forms. Most of the current after-use areas have comprised the shallow edges of production areas. As soon as the deeper parts (difficult to drain –parts) are released on a larger scale, some changes in after-use planning can be expected. Also the demand of bio-fuels is growing and increasingly creates pressure to use areas for energy crop growing.
In Finland peat harvesting sites are utilised almost to the mineral subsoil. In this situation the properties of mineral subsoil have a considerable influence on the suitability for the various after-use forms. According to recent research a fifth of peat production areas were poorly suitable for economical use due to physical, geochemical or topography-hydrology-related reasons. However, most of the areas were well suitable for several different after-use options. One after-use option was seldom suitable for one whole cutaway area. The possi- bilities of using geology as a planning tool are presented in this paper.