Agriculture on Peatlands


Approximately 14% of European peatlands are currently used for agriculture. Large areas are found in Russia (70 t km2), Germany (12 t km2), Belarus (9 t km2) , Poland and Ukraine. In Hungary, Greece, the Netherlands and Germany, Denmark, Poland and Switzerland (98-70%), the majority of peatlands are used for agricultural purposes. In these countries the high population density required that wetlands be used for food production.

agriculture peatland field

Proportional to the total area of peatlands, the use of peatlands for agriculture is small in Fennoscandia, the Baltic countries, Russia and the British Isles. The great majority of peatlands used for agriculture in Europe consists of meadows and pastures.

The area of agricultural peatlands has decreased steadily in recent years for economic reasons and due to increasing nature protection. (Joosten & Clarke, 2002, Wise Use of Mires and Peatlands)

North America

Extensive areas of peatlands in North America are cultivated for agriculture. In Canada is it estimated that 40 t ha of peatlands are under cultivation. The principal uses are vegetable production and pastureland, also cranberries and wild rice as well as forage crops are grown. Over 230 t ha of fen peatlands are cultivated in the Florida Everglades, including large areas of sugarcane and rice. Other crops produced in the USA include vegetables, grass sods and cranberries. (Joosten & Clarke, 2002, Wise Use of Mires and Peatlands)

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