Ecosystem services

Peatland ecosystem services are the benefits that people obtain from peatland.

Kimmel and Mander (2010) offered a summary of peatland ecosystem services and examples of relevant beneficial functions adapted from the Millennium ecosystem assessment (2005) and Joosten and Clarke (2002):

tropical peatland and man

Provisioning services

  • Fibre and fuel (peat, plant) – are used for horticulture, agriculture, domestic heating and energy generation; raw material for industry, energy generation and medicine;
  • Food – wild plants and wild or domesticated animals are used as a food for people and domestic animals as well; medicine
  • Fresh water – public water supply is obtained from reservoirs draining peatlands
  • Peat substrate – land space for agriculture, horticulture and forestry.

Regulating services

  • Climate regulation (in global, regional, local scales) – regulation of greenhouse gases (climate change mitigation) and other climatic processes (precipitation, air temperatures,etc.)
  • Water regulation – water storage, groundwater recharge and discharge
  • Water purification and waste treatment (regulation of catchment hydrochemistry) – retention, recovery and removal of excess nutrients and pollutants
  •  Erosion protection (regulation of soil conditions) – peat blanket protecting the underlying soils from erosion.

Cultural services

  • Recreational and aesthetic – space for recreation and tourism; appreciation of nature;
  • Spiritual and inspirational – personal feelings and well-being; religious significance;
  • Educational – opportunities for education, training and research

Supporting services:

  • Biodiversity – unique habitats for unique species;
  • Soil formation – accumulation of organic matter;
  • Nutrient cycling – storage, recycling, processing and acquisition of nutrients.
Go back