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Suokeidas – From peat production to diverse wetlands

Suokeidas – From peat production to diverse wetlands

Peat production areas that have been used for peat extraction continue to produce climate and water emissions even when they are no longer in use. In the Suokeidas project, we will be reducing greenhouse gas emissions from disused peatlands, reducing nutrient runoff into the Baltic Sea, and increasing biodiversity by restoring peat production areas to their natural state as bogs or wetlands.

To design and implement the restoration of two former peat production areas into natural and biodiverse wetlands or bogs that sequester carbon.
Land acquisition of peat production areas and procurement of restoration plans are underway.
Project partners
The Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation


More information:

Disused peat production areas put a strain on the Baltic Sea and accelerate climate change

Peat production areas are bogs that have been dried to enable peat extraction. When bogs are dried, the peat starts decomposing, and this process produces considerable greenhouse gas emissions that accelerate climate change. At the same time, the nutrients and turbidity-causing humus in the peat are washed into waterways and the Baltic Sea. This leads to more turbid water in surrounding lakes and an even more eutrophic sea.

Finland is aiming to halve its use of peat in energy production by 2030 and to be carbon neutral by 2035. In order to achieve these goals, peat production is being quickly wound down.

Not all existing peat production areas will be fully utilised, so a thick layer of peat may be left on the surface. The drying peat in ditched peatlands will continue to decompose even after peat production ends, resulting in considerable emissions into both the atmosphere and waterways.

These emissions can be controlled by re-wetting areas that have been used for peat extraction. Re-wetting will help them return to their natural state more quickly, reduce water emissions, and gradually transform these areas into carbon sinks for long-term carbon storage.

From peat production areas to wetland oases

At the Suokeidas project peatlands will be restored towards their natural state. Two peat production areas in the Municipality of Ranua – Karsikkosuo and Raakunsuo – will be restored through re-wetting, that is, by blocking up ditches. Blocking the ditches will raise the groundwater level and enable bog vegetation to return to the area.

Wherever possible, water will also be directed to these areas from border ditches and forest ditches. Bogs retain nutrients and humus from the water that runs through forest ditches, which means they purify runoff water.

Karsikkosuo is a former peat production area that was in use in 1995–2018, while peat was produced in Raakunsuo in 2002–2020.

The project will restore a total of 200 hectares of bogland that has been used for peat production, including its edge zones. Additional sites will also be investigated for potential restoration, and negotiations on their acquisition will be held.

Suokeidas is being jointly implemented by the John Nurminen Foundation and the Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation. The John Nurminen Foundation is responsible for planning and implementing restoration. The Finnish Nature Heritage Foundation will acquire the land areas and apply for a permanent conservation ruling under the Nature Conservation Act. This will ensure that these areas will continue to be protected as bio-diverse bogs in the future, thereby enabling them to act as carbon sinks.

In addition to benefiting the climate and waterways, the restoration of peatlands can also increase biodiversity, as the areas once again form bio-diverse bog ecosystems that retain carbon. The project also offers replacement business opportunities for machinery entrepreneurs, and will help to support their employment when peat production ceases.

After the restoration measures have been implemented, the project will monitor the quality of runoff water, the return of vegetation, and the surface area of the pools of water that form.

The project is funded by EU’s Just Transition Fund, JTF.

In cooperation with

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