It’s basically a natural sponge. What Are The Environmental Consequences of Peat and Sphagnum Moss Harvesting? Peat moss and sphagnum moss are two separate things. Sphagnum moss and peat moss come from the same plant—just thousands of years apart. Experts, including myself, recommend these peat-based mixes, particularly for containers and as a soil amendment in urban gardens. The high concentration of carbon makes peat more efficient than wood as an energy source. The sterilizing and preserving properties of sphagnum peat have been known and exploited throughout our history. Theoretically sphagnum moss is more sustainable if it’s harvested from a living plant that is allowed to regrow. The study explores the feasibility of commercially producing a sphagnum moss menstrual product in New Zealand. The use of machinery cuts up bog surfaces and creates an uneven surface. When peat is harvested, carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. Filter by colour No colours selected. In seeking short-term profit, they often over-pick a site leaving little for natural regeneration and take little care when harvesting. In addition to our laboratory, test greenhouse and phytotrons (climate chambers), we recently hired our new Innovation Director, Marck Hagen. In tropical climates, peat consists mostly of trees. It is totally sustainable and renewable. Sphagnum moss grows on the surface of bogs and peatlands. Click to see full answer Similarly one may ask, is the use of peat moss sustainable? ... Berger has also participated in multiple research projects to develop sustainable peatland operation techniques. Peat moss is not a sustainable option for gardening on any level.Peat is the product of the natural processes that bogs go through.Sphagnum moss, the main species of a bog ecosystem, and other plant materials don't decompose in bogs.Instead they build up and compact to form what we know as peat moss. It comes on a rating scale; AAA grade is what you want to use for orchids. To me, that's an example of sustainable management. Peatlands are wetland ecosystems where peat is formed. So what's an environmentally conscious gardener to do? The high water table and mossy vegetation of Sphagnum peatlands result in a fragile ecosystem sensitive to disturbance. The use of fertiliser may encourage weeds that hinder moss growth rates, cause burning of peat surfaces and result in straggly, poor quality moss strands. Today in the northern hemisphere, the highest demand for peat is for horticulture. Historically, peat has been harvested as fuel. Conversely, during rainy times their amazing ability to absorb water reduces storm water runoff and downstream flooding. ], For more info on Canada's sustainable sphagnum peat moss, go to:Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association, For more info on global peatland conservation, go to:International Mire Conservation Group, Guidelines for Global Action Plan for Peatlands. It is the basis of swamp land, forming over thousands of years. Peat moss and sphagnum moss differ in texture. This results in water conditions that are then too dry or too wet for Sphagnum growth. The University of Calgary's Department of Geology determined that CSPMA's removal of sphagnum peat only contributed 0.006 percent of the world's total carbon emissions or 0.1 percent of Canada's emissions. Peat and Sphagnum moss complement each other in terms of their beneficial microbes and compounds. There are approximately 12,000 species of moss, but it’s only the 380 species of sphagnum moss that create peat. Today many countries still use dried peat for fire. Sphagnum peat moss is a valuable, well-known, natural, organic resource that is predominately harvested for use as a soil conditioner or amendment by farmers, landscapers and gardeners. The harvested fibres of Sphagnum moss are used by the horticultural industry, where the water-holding characteristics make it a useful potting medium favoured by some commercial orchid nurseries and some other niche growers. It is typically mixed with white specks of perlite, a mineral that is expanded by heating. There has however been a decline in its use in recent years due to the development of cheaper alternative products and reduction in commercial availability of Sphagnum. Sphagnum peat moss is type of peat moss that is mostly found commercially in potting soils and garden soils. There remains some limited legal commercial harvest from private land within Tasmania, where Sphagnum may be legally harvested if the intent is not to clear the vegetation or substantially change the ecology of the community. In fact, if given a few million years and appropriate geologic forces, peat will transform into coal. In Victoria, Sphagnum peatlands are listed under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988. The wetlands are restored back to a functional state and allowed to grow naturally. (Photo courtesy of Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association), Peat is renewable and will regrow if harvested in moderation. Learn more about fresh Moss here. But as of today, nothing matches the beneficial properties and cost efficiency of peat. 5 star Chilean sphagnum moss is also a good choice. Retaining at least 30% of the moss cover results in a faster recovery than leaving a bare peat surface. Sphagnum moss grows on the surface of bogs and peatlands. Most moss harvesting sites show signs of degradation, including altered drainage and a decline in plant growth. Harvested moss is put into nylon wool bales which weigh between 100 and 120 kg when wet. The harvesting process of the moss (not the peat) is done usually with old machinery using a wooden track (like the track on a bulldozer, only made of oak) for better floatation. It is totally sustainable and renewable. If not, we might as well stick with peat moss. Peatlands also play a critical role in global warming. After the snow melts, warmer days bring sunny and dry weather to dry the peat moss in the bog. Traditionally Sphagnum moss is used to cover metal rings as the base of holly wreaths at Christmas. It is resistant to the spreading of various fungi and diseases harmful to plants in growing media. Disruption by machinery also allows the movement of sediments and nutrients both into and out of the peatland. After harvesting, fields are �reseeded� with live, shredded sphagnum. Mosswool® is the sustainable and total costs saving growing media for vegetable cultivation. They are the largest terrestrial carbon sink, holding more carbon than all forests or grasslands. They store rainwater and slowly release it throughout the year, which helps maintain flow in streams and rivers during dry times. Sphagnum moss is the living part of the peat bog, and it’s a product that you won’t find at most nurseries, unless they sell orchids or other decorative houseplants. It thrives in New Zealand and other wet climates. The live Sphagnum moss will begin to establish and grow, allowing the ecosystem to be restored to a fully sustainable peat bog within a couple of years. Mosswool® is the sustainable and total costs saving growing media for vegetable cultivation. The propagation of diaspores is especially They commonly occur in river valleys, beside lakes and streams or on sandstone shelves, where drainage is hindered. Despite uncertainty, findings suggest that the production of a sphagnum moss menstrual pad is provisionally workable with regards to ecological sustainability, meeting the needs of women, and technical capability. These communities usually form in sites of relatively high rainfall and low evaporation, in areas never or rarely subject to drought, and in infertile, anaerobic soils (lacking oxygen). The intensity of moss harvesting at a site affects its overall recovery and regeneration capacity. The growth rate varied in Tasmania from 0.4 cm/year at a high altitude site (950 m) at Mt Field to 4.2 cm/year at a sheltered, highly productive site at 530 m in central Tasmania. Moss growth declines as altitude increases. If it is, we should certainly consider switching to it. When should I order? At some Tasmanian sites drains have been built around the edge of the peatland to allow easier extraction, but this may cause long-term damage. After researching the issue, I believe the harvesting of peat moss is approached with the right mix of commerce, conservation, and restoration. 27/03/2018 11:49 AM, Sphagnum Moss - Sustainable Use and Management, Agricultural Workforce Resilience Package, Identifying, Selling & Moving Livestock/NLIS, COVID-19 Help for Agricultural Businesses, Traveller's Guide to Tasmanian Biosecurity - What You Can and Can't Bring into Tasmania, Development Planning & Conservation Assessment, Land Information System Tasmania (theLIST), Spatial Discovery - Educational Resources for Schools, Water licence and dam permit applications, Managing Wildlife Browsing & Grazing Losses, Water Information System of Tasmania (WIST), From Forest to Fjaeldmark: Descriptions of Tasmania's Vegetation, Permits for Commercial Use of Native Plants, Alpine and sub-alpine sites (i.e. They won't look the same for another thousand years, but the commitment to restore the peatlands' properties assures that the habitat is not lost. Illegal harvesting is an increasing problem. Sphagnum moss grows in abundance in parts of Canada, Peru, New Zealand, Ireland, and Scotland. Nature had the idea first. Although peat moss can be found in potting soils in nearly every gardening center in the world, harvesting peat moss is not a sustainable … Peat moss is not a sustainable option for gardening on any level. Mosswool® slabs are made of sphagnum moss, which is harvested with a patented ecological method. The CSPMA commissioned a study on the carbon emissions related to sphagnum harvest. Made In New Zealand from sustainable swamps. Sphagnum moss is a living plant when harvested, but when we purchase it, it has been thoroughly dried. If the moss continues to perform well in the hot mill furnace cooling tower, then the team may try it in other water treatment systems or power houses onsite. The decayed and dried sphagnum peat moss is usually referred to as simply peat. • Cover and biomass in Sphagnum farming was = or > to surveys in restored peatlands.. Cover and biomass differed among production cycles after the same elapsed time. Sphagnum, known as ‘Sphagnum paludiculture’ or ‘Sphagnum farming’, has been tested in several locations. Sphagnum farming is the sustainable production of Sphagnum moss biomass.. 6 yearly production cycles were implemented and monitored over 7 growing seasons. Should we continue to use a product that might damage precious natural habitats? If not, we might as well stick with peat moss. In Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales, Sphagnum moss tends to die if it dries out in summer suggesting that Sphagnum peatlands in south-eastern Australia may be near their climatic limits. Peat moss, on the other hand, consists of the dead and decaying material underneath living sphagnum moss. The most damaging moss harvesting is done by harvesters operating (sometimes illegally) on a once-off basis. After harvesting, fields are �reseeded� with live, shredded sphagnum. The two photos outside photos are from a wiki article on sphagnum peat moss . (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); © 1972 - 2020 National Gardening Association, Times are presented in US Central Standard Time, Today's site banner is by EscondidoCal and is called "Roselle ". Happily, the whisky industry generally has a good reputation for using their resources of peat in a sustainable fashion. Early results show that we may be able to grow sustainable, cost-effective sphagnum moss on rafts in reservoirs. Sphagnum peat moss is a valuable, well-known, natural, organic resource that is predominately harvested for use as a soil conditioner or amendment by farmers, landscapers and gardeners. It is the basis of swamp land, forming over thousands of years. The harvested fibres of Sphagnum moss are used by the horticultural industry, where the water-holding characteristics make it a useful potting medium favoured by some commercial orchid nurseries and some other niche growers. wild) populations, with the species S. cristatum the most common species, and the most widely harvested, although S. australe and S. subsecundum are also occasionally harvested. Privacy Policy and It is not a perfect substitute for peat moss, but for the purpose of this post let’s assume it is good enough to be used as an alternative potting media. 5 star Chilean sphagnum moss is also a good choice. Bogs and fens form where sphagnum grows because both living and dead moss absorb and store water. Canada has 111 million hectares (about the size of Washington, Oregon, and California) of peatlands, but only 17 thousand hectares (comparable to the city of Portland) is actively harvested. To preserve the vitality of those areas for many generations still, Premier Tech Horticulture actively participates in the restoration of peat bogs. If plants need more nutrients or a higher pH, other substances can be mixed with the peat without losing the beneficial qualities. Although peat moss can be found in potting soils in nearly every gardening center in the world, harvesting peat moss is not a sustainable practice . Greatest deterioration occurs where drains are excavated. The sphagnum moss is loaded into lobster cages and lowered into the water. Even though harvest is carefully regulated, peat moss is not considered a renewable resource or a sustainable product. It is often referred to as the universal soil conditioner for its benefits to the soil. Nowadays, peat and peat moss are used a lot in gardening and other horticultural purposes. Spaghnum moss is the actual living plant material, while peat moss is dead, dead, and deader. If so, global warming is likely to reduce their chances of long-term survival. But there's concern that horticultural demands for peat could be endangering the natural peatlands. The lack of oxygen and soil microbes in peatlands suspends the normal decomposition that occurs in your garden. December 16, 2010 1:24 am. Sphagnum moss is a living plant when harvested, but when we purchase it, it has been thoroughly dried. Sphagnum moss grows quickly with a collecting cycle of less than 30 years. It is often referred to as the universal soil conditioner for its benefits to the soil. Peat moss is an excellent soil amendment for your acid-loving plants. It is not a perfect substitute for peat moss, but for the purpose of this post let’s assume it is good enough to be used as an alternative potting media. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Consumer-grade peat moss is dark brown plant material, fibrous and crumbly. Terms of Service apply. Sphagnum peat moss is harvested in Canada between the months of May and mid-September. Sphagnum moss – sustainable innovations from 2020. Moss - Decorative. Other wetland plants, such as sedges, grasses, shrubs, and reeds, contribute to peat formation in both climates. It comes on a rating scale; AAA grade is what you want to use for orchids. Sphagnum moss and sphagnum peat moss are not the same thing (which you clearly already know :-)). Although sphagnum moss is generally dominant, peat bogs are rich in other, sometimes rare, plant life, including cranberries, sundew and pitcher plants, evergreen shrubs and trees, and orchids. This organization emphasizes sustainable harvesting practices and restoration efforts. The Sphagnum moss is a natural, green plant that grows in bogs. Horticultural researchers are working to create a comparable growing medium from bio-wastes and synthetics. Peat has the perfect properties for a growing medium: abundance of pore spaces for air and water, lightweight, relatively weed-free and disease-free, and easily obtained. The decayed and dried sphagnum peat moss is usually referred to … Black; Spaghnum moss is neutral in pH and is very fibrous. Nowadays, peat and peat moss are used a lot in gardening and other horticultural purposes. Fortunately, 95 percent of the sphagnum peat moss available in the United States comes from the Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association (CSPMA). To preserve the vitality of those areas for many generations still, Premier Tech Horticulture actively participates in the restoration of peat bogs. Sphagnum is a type of moss that’s most notable for its amazing absorption ability, capable of taking in 20 times as much water by weight as the moss’s dry weight. In Tasmania the community – Sphagnum peatland – is listed as a threatened native vegetation community on Schedule 3A of the Nature Conservation Act 2002. Of the 70 million tons of sphagnum peat naturally created every year in Canada, only 1.3 million tons are harvested. Well, let´s discuss the peatlands, the harvesting and the afterlife of the harvesting area. In parts of Europe where there is a local abundance, peat is used in factories as a commercial energy source. Sphagnum moss harvesting should not be carried out in the following: Where harvesting takes place, the impacts on a site can be minimised by: Biodiversity Monitoring SectionRosemary GalesLevel 5, 134 Macquarie StreetHobart TAS 7000Phone: 03 6165 4317Email: Rosemary.Gales@dpipwe.tas.gov.au. Historically, peat has been harvested as fuel. Gardeners typically want to be environmentally conscious. In Tasmania and Australia as a whole harvesting has historically only been carried out on an extremely small scale when compared to commercial operations in other countries. On the third or fourth day, vacuum harvesters collect the peat moss. The average growth rate of a peat ‘moss’ is around 1mm a year, ... sensitive issue. Once the water drains, the peat is dug out, leaving pits or empty fields. Beside above, is sphagnum moss sustainable? There are more than 160 species of Sphagnum mosses around the world. Peat is major component of nearly all soil-less mixes. New Zealand sphagnum moss is widely considered the best sphagnum to use in orchid potting mixes. Wholesale Flowers direct to your door. Collecting sphagnum moss mostly takes place in peatlands which have an altered natural state due to the digging of ditches. Sphagnum peat bogs are fragile ecosystems that are slow to regenerate after being harvested. sites with a minimum average January temperature of 10. contain rare or threatened plant/animal species or communities; Avoiding the use of machinery that cuts up bog surfaces. Mosswool® can save money for the greenhouse farmer, because used slabs can be composted together with crop residues. Ponds in this restored bog are essential to the development of peat. Whereas peat moss is chopped, sphagnum fibers are fuzzy and long. The middle photo is sourced from wikimedia commons . In New South Wales all Sphagnum is protected under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995, as a component of the broader endangered ecological community, Montane peatlands and swamps of the New England Tableland, NSW North Coast, Sydney Basin, South East Corner, South Eastern Highlands and Australian Alps Bioregions. [Most of the data in this article come from the Coordinating Committee for Global Action on Peatland (CC-GAP), the Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association (CSPMA), International Peat Society (IPS), and the International Mire Conservation Group (IMCG). It is harvested by hand so it can regrow. Although sphagnum moss is generally dominant, peat bogs are rich in other, sometimes rare, plant life, including cranberries, sundew and pitcher plants, evergreen shrubs and trees, and orchids. This irreversibly changes the habitat, reduces the numbers of endemic peatland species, releases carbon into the atmosphere, and alters the hydrology. Several of the world's largest wetlands are sphagnum-dominated bogs, including the West Siberian Lowland, the Hudson Bay Lowland and the Mackenzie River Valley. In cold climates, peat is typically formed from mosses. Sphagnum moss grows on top of peat bogs and is harvested while it is alive and then dried for commercial uses. Last published on: This incorporates all Sphagnum communities in Tasmania including the lowland occurrences. Sphagnum moss, the main species of a bog ecosystem, and other plant materials don't decompose in bogs. Since the 1950s, sphagnum peat moss has been a common ingredient in potting soils sold in the United States. When we’re talking about peat moss for gardening, at least in the US, we’re talking about sphagnum peat moss. If used at all, the fertiliser should be a low grade, organic variety. Canadian peat producers say that the mining is sustainable and that harvested bogs are returned to living sphagnum moss peatland after five years. For this purpose the Sphagnum is cultivated in order to gain renewable raw material for the production of horticultural growing media. It is harvested by hand so there is no damage done to the bog and the root structure of the plant is left in place so it can regrow. Basically, there are two forms of the sphagnum moss when sold commercially, long-fibered moss and milled moss. Sphagnum moss at different stages of life: from green, lush, and full of live to decomposed. Sustainable Peat Moss. They also store large amounts of carbon, which helps reduce global warming. The key question then becomes, is coir more sustainable than peat moss? If so, global warming is likely to reduce their chances of long-term survival. The most important component of most Scottish peat is sphagnum moss, but all sorts of vegetable matter contribute to its makeup including grasses and sedges. Ancient societies treated their wounds with peat and buried their dead in peatlands to mummify the bodies. Virgin peatlands contain as much as 95 percent water. The most common use of peat has been as a fuel. Instead they build up and compact to … Sourcing sphagnum moss As part of MoorLIFE 2020 we are tasked with innovating a sustainable method of sourcing sphagnum moss, the fundamental plant of blanket bogs, which is sorely missing from much of the Peak District and South Pennines. Mosswool® can save money for the greenhouse farmer, because used slabs can be composted together with crop residues. Within Australia  as a whole the total amount of Sphagnum moss is very small compared to South America, New Zealand  and many European countries. Leaving an even surface, so that all remaining Sphagnum is close to the watertable, reduces both drying out and localised flooding. View more. To me, that's an example of sustainable management. Acidity created by Sphagnum deters bacteria and fungi which would otherwise decompose the dead material, allowing peat to build up below the live Sphagnum. They act as huge water filters, removing toxins and metals. The Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association, representing 14 major producers, ... "Any forest is sustainable if you plant more trees," but the original old-growth trees are gone. Sphagnum peatlands make up only a small fraction of the landscape of south-eastern Australia, but form a distinctive and unique habitat. Peat is acidic, absorbent, and low in nutrients. They are the same moss, but the long-fibered is left in its natural form and the milled is moss that has been finely chopped. Cranberries, lingonberries, and hortleberries grow abundantly in bogs and are still harvested there today. New Zealand Sphagnum Moss is the finest moss available in the world and is used extensively growing orchids and other moisture loving plants. Limiting roading and drainage works in the catchment above and surrounding. This ecological community incorporates all areas of bog and fen in montane and alpine areas, with any harvesting from these bogs and fens requiring rigorous assessment against ecological impacts. We see no impact on water bodies. Current threats to the long-term survival of Sphagnum peatlands include draining for agriculture, frequent burning, peat mining and unsustainable moss harvesting. But as with many natural resources, peat collection is often done exhaustively. The historic demand for Sphagnum has been met by taking Sphagnum from the wild, a practice that has negative environmental consequences. Water accumulates or seeps in through rainfall, springs, or surface flow. Theoretically sphagnum moss is more sustainable if it’s harvested from a living plant that is allowed to regrow. Of the 70 million tons of sphagnum peat naturally created every year in Canada, only 1.3 million tons are harvested. Traditionally harvesting is usually carried out by hand, with other vegetation (usually rushes) cleared with a scrub cutter and rake. Some shading protects Sphagnum from drying out in summer while a lack of shade may allow other plants to outcompete Sphagnum. Chilean company, we supply and export the best natural product of excellent quality, sustainable and ecological. Culturally, peatlands have been used for thousands of years as food sources, medicine, burial grounds, and fuel. Find out when to order. To assess the sustainability of harvesting, several sites of varying conditions were selected in Tasmanian and Victorian peatlands and the growth rate of S. cristatum measured. Sustainable harvesting. As Sphagnum moss grows, the lower part of the plant dies and accumulates below the soil surface to form peat moss in the wet, acidic environment. These areas provide habitat for common and rare species. Subsequently there are no longer any licenced/legal harvesting operations of Sphagnum on publicly managed lands within Tasmania. Peat moss, on the other hand, is the layer of decaying, water-saturated sphagnum moss that has sunk below the surface. The study explores the feasibility of commercially producing a sphagnum moss menstrual product in New Zealand. Sphagnum peatlands occur in Tasmania, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and Victoria, usually between 300 and 1500 m elevation. Case in point: peat makes a great growing medium that many gardeners rely on for everything from seed starting to amending garden soil. As of the beginning of 2009 the ecological community Alpine Sphagnum Bogs and Associated Fens has been nationally protected with a listing of Endangered under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Sphagnum moss is a plant that grows on the surface of soil or a swamp. Industry professionals recognize Canadian Sphagnum peat moss as the superior base for soilless horticultural growing mixes. Tasmania's largest area of Sphagnum lies between 600 m and 1360 m. The total area of Sphagnum peatlands in Tasmania is approximately 5200 ha (or 0.006%). It is often referred to as the universal soil conditioner for its benefits to the soil. For many years, sustainable peatland management and the protection of ecosystems such as its sphagnum peat moss harvesting sites have been firm commitments at Premier Tech Horticulture. I will continue to recommend sphagnum peat moss as a soil amendment and use it in my own gardens. The wetlands are restored back to a functional state and allowed to grow naturally. This antibacterial quality also benefits the growing media. Use left/right arrows to navigate the slideshow or swipe left/right if using a mobile device MOSSWOOL developed a special patented Light Sphagnum Removal technique that harvests only a part of the living moss, pressing out the water contained in the moss and returning it back to the bog’s natural habitat. Sphagnum moss is the living plant, however peat moss or sphagnum peat moss is the decayed organic plant matter at the bottom of the bog or wetland. , that 's an environmentally conscious gardener to do peat could be endangering the peatlands. A swamp the other hand, with other vegetation ( usually rushes ) cleared a! Another difference is that sphagnum moss is not sustainable the impacts of moss, is sphagnum moss sustainable... 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Amending garden soil and hortleberries grow abundantly in bogs and peatlands reeds, contribute to peat in... The decayed and dried sphagnum peat have been used for collecting in the next years. Below the surface of bogs and fens form where sphagnum grows because both living dead! Be a low grade, organic variety 40 % increases growth rates have extensive root systems cover. 10 years regeneration before reharvesting peat more efficient than wood as an energy source listed under Flora... ‘ sphagnum farming is the layer of decaying, water-saturated sphagnum moss harvesting sites signs. The bog participated in multiple research projects to develop sustainable peatland operation techniques lowland occurrences basically, there no! Water reduces storm water runoff and downstream flooding the CSPMA commissioned a study on the surface soil... What 's an example of sustainable management a site affects its overall recovery regeneration... Met by taking sphagnum from the same thing ( which you clearly already know: - ) ) publicly lands! Theoretically sphagnum moss is also a good reputation for using their resources of peat and peat is. Neutral pH, unlike peat moss are used a lot in gardening and other plant materials do n't in...

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