Sustainable use of estonian peat resources and environmental challenges
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Sustainable use of Estonian peat resources and environmental challenges. Mall Orru The Geological Survey of Estonia. Background. Peatlands cover 22 . 3% of Estonian territory (1 009 100 ha) ~6 0% of peatlands are formed as paludification of mineral soils and ~ 40% as lake paludification

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Sustainable use of Estonian peat resources and environmental challenges

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Sustainable use of Estonian peat resources and environmental challenges

Mall Orru

The Geological Survey of Estonia


Background

  • Peatlands cover 22.3% of Estonian territory (1 009 100 ha)

  • ~60% of peatlands are formed as paludification of mineral soils and ~40% as lake paludification

  • Total number of the peatlands is 9836; 85% of them are small (1-10 ha)

  • Average thickness of peat layer is 3-4 m


Background

  • Peatlands cover 22,3% of Estonian territory (1 009 100 ha)

  • 60% of peatlands are formed as paludification of mineral soils and 40% as lake paludification

  • Total number of the peatlands is 9836, 85% of them are small (1-10 ha)

  • Average thickness of peat layer is 3-4 m


Investigation of Estonian peatlands

  • Work started in 1967 in the Geological Survey of Estonia (EGK)

  • All mires with area >1 ha were investigated and mapped (1:10 000, 1:25 000)

  • Thickness of peat layer, peat type, ash content, pH, moisture, hydrological, and geological condition were studied

  • ~70 000 samples were analysed in laboratory


Environmental register, list of deposits

  • Started in 1996 in EGK, recently hold by Estonian Land Board

  • List of deposits consists 279 peat deposits

  • Area of peat deposits is ~260 000 ha, which contains 26% of total peatlands area and 8% of Estonian territory

  • List of deposits is complemented constantly


Peat resources

Active proved reserves 0.22 billion tonnes

Active probable reserves 0.82 billion tonnes

In list of peat deposits 1.60 billion tons

(16% light humified, 84% well humified)

Total resources 2.37 billion tons

Passive reserves 0.56 billion tonnes


Peat extraction

  • It is extracted from 77 deposits

  • Production fields area is 20 550 ha

  • Peat is mainly used for horticulture and fuel

  • Peat production ranges from 0.9-1.5 million tons


According to the Sustainable Development Act – the extraction can not exceed 2.6 million tons per year


Mire protection

  • Mire protection area 161 575 ha

  • With Natura 2000 protected areas 211 421 ha

  • 72% of them are raised bogs

  • 22% of Estonian mires are under protection


Alternative use of peat

  • Environmental technological solutions

    • Like sorbents, wastewater treatment etc.

  • Peat balneology

    • Research has been carried out by EGK

    • Clinical experiments in progress


Abandoned peat production areas

  • 154 abandoned peat production areas in Estonia with area 8500 ha

  • Peat reserves not totally exhausted yet there

  • High CO2 emission due peat humification

  • Peat mineralises in such areas


Revision of abandoned peat production areas

  • Carried out by EGK since 2005

  • At the end of 2007 the revision will be completed in 12 counties

  • Study questions:

    • remained peat resources;

    • state of water regime;

    • drainage network;

    • revegetation etc.


Põlliku peatland


Põlliku peatland 2


Imsi peatland


Hõreda peatland


Rabivere peatland


Viru peatland


Hara peatland


Hara peatland 2


As the results of the study …

  • To provide information for decisionmakers weather re-establish mire, turn into wetland, reforest, plant with berries or make a body of water

  • The above-described problem is topical in the other countries as well

  • In 2008, XIII International peat Congress

    “After Wise Use – the Future of Peatlands”

    will be organised by the International Peat

    Society in Tullamore, Ireland


Plantation of berries

  • Plantation of cranberries and blueberries in abandoned peatlands

  • Studies carried out by Estonian University of Life Sciences


Conclusions

  • Continue and develop sustainable use of peat resources and peatlands

    • Find alternative usage for peat

  • Better co-operation between scientists, decisionmakers, peatproducers etc.

  • Make the linking of borders of peat deposits, protection areas, and peat production available

  • Improve scientific studies of abandoned peat areas

    • multidisciplinary analyses – geologist, ecologist, botanist, hydrologist


Thank you for your attention!

Contact: [email protected]


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