Canada: Sphagnum peat moss production and sustainability

In Canada, there is an abundance of peatlands and producers follow "wise use" guidelines for the harvesting and preservation of peat bogs. Peat bogs were formed centuries ago after the last ice age ended, and bogs continue to grow with the slow accumulation of vegetal debris in peatlands, which are classified as a type of wetland.

In Canada, these wetlands appeared after glaciers melted and water collected in shallow depressions on poorly drained soils under cool, moist and oxygen poor conditions. This environment has limited bacterial action due to cool temperatures. Therefore, the rate of sphagnum moss plant growth exceeds the rate of decomposition. Over time, the slow decomposing moss debris accumulated, forming a peat deposit that in some places can exceed 6 meters in depth. The rate at which peat accumulates in Canadian peatlands ranges from 0.5 to 1 mm per year.

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