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Mosswool® can save money for the greenhouse farmer, because used slabs can be composted together with crop residues. Peatlands also play a critical role in global warming. Basically, there are two forms of the sphagnum moss when sold commercially, long-fibered moss and milled moss. It’s basically a natural sponge. The decayed and dried sphagnum peat moss is usually referred to as simply peat. For this purpose the Sphagnum is cultivated in order to gain renewable raw material for the production of horticultural growing media. Back to Our stories. Archaeologists are able to fill in pieces of the human history puzzle from these anthropological treasures. In addition to our laboratory, test greenhouse and phytotrons (climate chambers), we recently hired our new Innovation Director, Marck Hagen. 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. Black; 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. But as of today, nothing matches the beneficial properties and cost efficiency of peat. When should I order? It’s basically a natural sponge. Peat moss and sphagnum moss differ in texture. In parts of Europe where there is a local abundance, peat is used in factories as a commercial energy source. Nature had the idea first. Peat is an organic material comprised of dead vegetation (leaves, stems, roots, trunks) that has partially decomposed in a water-saturated, oxygen-poor environment. It takes one thousand years for them to grow a yard in depth. Sphagnum farming is the sustainable production of Sphagnum moss biomass.. 6 yearly production cycles were implemented and monitored over 7 growing seasons. Beside above, is sphagnum moss sustainable? The key question then becomes, is coir more sustainable than peat moss? It is the basis of swamp land, forming over thousands of years. 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. After researching the issue, I believe the harvesting of peat moss is approached with the right mix of commerce, conservation, and restoration. Today in the northern hemisphere, the highest demand for peat is for horticulture. The high concentration of carbon makes peat more efficient than wood as an energy source. The wetlands are restored back to a functional state and allowed to grow naturally. This incorporates all Sphagnum communities in Tasmania including the lowland occurrences. Sphagnum Moss. Most moss harvesting sites show signs of degradation, including altered drainage and a decline in plant growth. What makes sphagnum moss an excellent sustainable raw material for substrates? These bales are carried out by either - dragging by hand, using tramways, three-wheeled motorcycles and bulldozers with varying degrees of damage to the site. New Zealand Sphagnum Moss is the finest moss available in the world and is used extensively growing orchids and other moisture loving plants. They cover only 3 percent of the land, but contain 30 percent of the carbon. Harvested moss is put into nylon wool bales which weigh between 100 and 120 kg when wet. Collecting sphagnum moss mostly takes place in peatlands which have an altered natural state due to the digging of ditches. Nothing is as simple as it seems. It thrives in New Zealand and other wet climates. Experts, including myself, recommend these peat-based mixes, particularly for containers and as a soil amendment in urban gardens. What Are The Environmental Consequences of Peat and Sphagnum Moss Harvesting? It comes on a rating scale; AAA grade is what you want to use for orchids. feedback form or by telephone. Disruption by machinery also allows the movement of sediments and nutrients both into and out of the peatland. The jury is still out on the question of whether or not sphagnum peat moss can be considered a renewable resource at the level at which it is harvested in Canada. Case in point: peat makes a great growing medium that many gardeners rely on for everything from seed starting to amending garden soil. It’s the decayed remains of live sphagnum moss. Instead they build up and compact to … They act as huge water filters, removing toxins and metals. They commonly occur in river valleys, beside lakes and streams or on sandstone shelves, where drainage is hindered. 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 moss at different stages of life: from green, lush, and full of live to decomposed. [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). 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. This page was created by the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (Tasmania). If not, we might as well stick with peat moss. (Photo courtesy of Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association), Peat is renewable and will regrow if harvested in moderation. Traditionally harvesting is usually carried out by hand, with other vegetation (usually rushes) cleared with a scrub cutter and rake. Use left/right arrows to navigate the slideshow or swipe left/right if using a mobile device Approximately 99 percent of Canada’s total national production comes from the combined operations of the 20 corporate groups that form the Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association (CSPMA.) Since the 1950s, sphagnum peat moss has been a common ingredient in potting soils sold in the United States. 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. Spaghnum moss is the actual living plant material, while peat moss is dead, dead, and deader. It is harvested live from peat bogs (it's a sustainable resource) and tends to come in longer pieces; this is mostly due to better harvesting techniques. Peat moss is an excellent soil amendment for your acid-loving plants. Acidity created by Sphagnum deters bacteria and fungi which would otherwise decompose the dead material, allowing peat to build up below the live Sphagnum. Allowing about 5 - 10 years regeneration before reharvesting. Peatlands are wetland ecosystems where peat is formed. Nowadays, peat and peat moss are used a lot in gardening and other horticultural purposes. There is currently no legal harvesting from these communities. 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. However, the number and size of Australian peatlands mean that the impacts of moss harvesting have been relatively high on this fragile ecosystem. This antibacterial quality also benefits the growing media. They also store large amounts of carbon, which helps reduce global warming. Collection is done according to the Finnish guidelines for Sphagnum moss collecting. In Victoria, Sphagnum peatlands are listed under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988. The decayed and dried sphagnum peat moss is usually referred to … The lack of oxygen and soil microbes in peatlands suspends the normal decomposition that occurs in your garden. After harvesting, fields are �reseeded� with live, shredded sphagnum. I will continue to recommend sphagnum peat moss as a soil amendment and use it in my own gardens. 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.. Our experimental project to investigate the potential for growing sphagnum on rafts began in June 2017 on two disused United Utilities reservoirs in the Peak District. Fertiliser is sometimes used after harvesting to promote moss growth, however further work is required on its effects. 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). 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. Well, let´s discuss the peatlands, the harvesting and the afterlife of the harvesting area. ... Happily, the whisky industry generally has a good reputation for using their resources of peat in a sustainable fashion. 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. Greatest deterioration occurs where drains are excavated. 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. They store rainwater and slowly release it throughout the year, which helps maintain flow in streams and rivers during dry times. Once again, a restored peat bog will be as effective as natural peatlands for sequestering carbon and supporting animal … Use these convenient icons to share this page on various social media platforms. In Victoria, it grew more than twice as fast in sheltered sites. 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. Sphagnum moss grows on top of peat bogs and is harvested while it is alive and then dried for commercial uses. View more. Sphagnum moss grows in abundance in parts of Canada, Peru, New Zealand, Ireland, and Scotland. If not, we might as well stick with peat moss. Sphagnum farming is the cultivation of peat moss (Sphagnum) aiming for the production and harvest of peat moss biomass. It is a unique and organic material that provides several benefits to gardeners including compaction prevention, an acidic pH, a sterile planting medium and great absorbency. The CSPMA commissioned a study on the carbon emissions related to sphagnum harvest. Spaghnum moss is neutral in pH and is very fibrous. Mosswool® can save money for the greenhouse farmer, because used slabs can be composted together with crop residues. (Photo courtesy of Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association). This irreversibly changes the habitat, reduces the numbers of endemic peatland species, releases carbon into the atmosphere, and alters the hydrology. After the snow melts, warmer days bring sunny and dry weather to dry the peat moss in the bog. Current threats to the long-term survival of Sphagnum peatlands include draining for agriculture, frequent burning, peat mining and unsustainable moss harvesting. Peat moss and sphagnum moss are two separate things. The sphagnum moss is loaded into lobster cages and lowered into the water. Sphagnum moss and sphagnum peat moss are not the same thing (which you clearly already know :-)). 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. 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. After harvesting, fields are �reseeded� with live, shredded sphagnum. Sphagnum peat moss is a valued, recognized, natural, organic reserve that is largely harvested for use as a soil conditioner or amendment in horticulture. The propagation of diaspores is especially 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 regeneration is slow, or sometimes absent, where a bare peat surface is left after harvesting. The moss naturally cleans water, removes scale and corrosion and allows significant reductions in water and chemical use. Terms of Service apply. To preserve the vitality of those areas for many generations still, Premier Tech Horticulture actively participates in the restoration of peat bogs. Only a few hundred hectares will be used for collecting in the next few years. Peat and Sphagnum moss complement each other in terms of their beneficial microbes and compounds. It is totally sustainable and renewable. Peat moss, on the other hand, is the layer of decaying, water-saturated sphagnum moss that has sunk below the surface. If used at all, the fertiliser should be a low grade, organic variety. 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. 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. The intensity of moss harvesting at a site affects its overall recovery and regeneration capacity. It is often referred to as the universal soil conditioner for its benefits to the soil. The middle photo is sourced from wikimedia commons . 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. Sphagnum moss is a living plant when harvested, but when we purchase it, it has been thoroughly dried. We were intrigued when a vendor introduced us to a new, and far more environmentally sustainable, solution: natural sphagnum moss, now available for commercial use. 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. It is typically mixed with white specks of perlite, a mineral that is expanded by heating. 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. A … Peat moss and sphagnum moss are two separate things. Conversely, during rainy times their amazing ability to absorb water reduces storm water runoff and downstream flooding. It is the basis of swamp land, forming over thousands of years. Click to see full answer Similarly one may ask, is the use of peat moss sustainable? If so, global warming is likely to reduce their chances of long-term survival. 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%). Happily, the whisky industry generally has a good reputation for using their resources of peat in a sustainable fashion. The sterilizing and preserving properties of sphagnum peat have been known and exploited throughout our history. The high water table and mossy vegetation of Sphagnum peatlands result in a fragile ecosystem sensitive to disturbance. If plants need more nutrients or a higher pH, other substances can be mixed with the peat without losing the beneficial qualities. 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. We wonder if we're contributing to the demise of peatlands. You can use it as a decorative enhancement or bedding in flower arrangements. In fact, if given a few million years and appropriate geologic forces, peat will transform into coal. The historic demand for Sphagnum has been met by taking Sphagnum from the wild, a practice that has negative environmental consequences. To me, that's an example of sustainable management. All Sphagnum harvesting in Australia takes place from natural (i.e. (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 ". Virgin peatlands contain as much as 95 percent water. Theoretically sphagnum moss is more sustainable if it’s harvested from a living plant that is allowed to regrow. 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. Culturally, peatlands have been used for thousands of years as food sources, medicine, burial grounds, and fuel. 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. Peat moss, on the other hand, is the layer of decaying, water-saturated sphagnum moss that has sunk below the surface. 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. Peat moss, on the other hand, consists of the dead and decaying material underneath living sphagnum moss. 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. When we’re talking about peat moss for gardening, at least in the US, we’re talking about sphagnum peat moss. ... sustainable solutions. (Quebec Peat Moss Producers Association) Decomposed or partally decomposed sphagnum peat moss is what is used in the garden to amend soil. The Sphagnum moss used in our products is a natural, green plant that grows in bogs. Challenge At Kekkilä-BVB, innovation is the platform from which we grow. This results in water conditions that are then too dry or too wet for Sphagnum growth. Find out when to order. 5 star Chilean sphagnum moss is also a good choice. Within Australia  as a whole the total amount of Sphagnum moss is very small compared to South America, New Zealand  and many European countries. It comes on a rating scale; AAA grade is what you want to use for orchids. Sphagnum is a genus of approximately 380 accepted species of mosses, commonly known as "peat moss" though they are different as peat moss has a more acidic pH level.Accumulations of Sphagnum can store water, since both living and dead plants can hold large quantities of water inside their cells; plants may hold 16 to 26 times as much water as their dry weight, depending on the species. 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. Cranberries, lingonberries, and hortleberries grow abundantly in bogs and are still harvested there today. 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 . Subsequently there are no longer any licenced/legal harvesting operations of Sphagnum on publicly managed lands within Tasmania. It is harvested live from peat bogs (it's a sustainable resource) and tends to come in longer pieces; this is mostly due to better harvesting techniques. Questions concerning its content can be sent using the The challenges of growing Sphagnum are manifold. Peat moss is not a sustainable option for gardening on any level. Regrowth in a harvested peat bog will eventually form the peat of the future. Sphagnum peat moss is type of peat moss that is mostly found commercially in potting soils and garden soils. Coconut groves are grown where they cut down old growth forest and rain forest using slash … Industry professionals recognize Canadian Sphagnum peat moss as the superior base for soilless horticultural growing mixes. Even though harvest is carefully regulated, peat moss is not considered a renewable resource or a sustainable product. The average growth rate of a peat ‘moss’ is around 1mm a year, ... sensitive issue. 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. Whereas peat moss is chopped, sphagnum fibers are fuzzy and long. Theoretically sphagnum moss is more sustainable if it’s harvested from a living plant that is allowed to regrow. Are we encouraging people to destroy rare habitats just so our container plants can have extensive root systems? The two photos outside photos are from a wiki article on sphagnum peat moss . Sphagnum moss grows on the surface of bogs and peatlands. Anonymous. 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. Sustainable Peat Moss. First, let's review some definitions. There are approximately 12,000 species of moss, but it’s only the 380 species of sphagnum moss that create peat. The moss will be a sustainable raw material in the future. Retaining at least 30% of the moss cover results in a faster recovery than leaving a bare peat surface. Filter by colour No colours selected. Sphagnum moss is a plant that grows on the surface of soil or a swamp. The key question then becomes, is coir more sustainable than peat moss? 5 star Chilean sphagnum moss is also a good choice. It is often referred to as the universal soil conditioner for its benefits to the soil. 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. Illegal harvesting is an increasing problem. 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. We see no impact on water bodies. Limiting roading and drainage works in the catchment above and surrounding. 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. 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. Of the 70 million tons of sphagnum peat naturally created every year in Canada, only 1.3 million tons are harvested. Peat is major component of nearly all soil-less mixes. ... Berger has also participated in multiple research projects to develop sustainable peatland operation techniques. Other wetland plants, such as sedges, grasses, shrubs, and reeds, contribute to peat formation in both climates. The use of machinery cuts up bog surfaces and creates an uneven surface. To preserve the vitality of those areas for many generations still, Premier Tech Horticulture actively participates in the restoration of peat bogs. If harvesting operations occur on private land in peatlands containing rare or threatened species, a permit is required under the Threatened Species Protection Act 1995. If so, global warming is likely to reduce their chances of long-term survival. 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. Of the 70 million tons of sphagnum peat naturally created every year in Canada, only 1.3 million tons are harvested. 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. Sphagnum moss exports from Australia are subject to the Wildlife Protection (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1982 and require a licence from Environment Australia. Drainage ditches are cut around the peatlands. Sphagnum peat bogs are fragile ecosystems that are slow to regenerate after being harvested. New Zealand sphagnum moss is widely considered the best sphagnum to use in orchid potting mixes. There are more than 160 species of Sphagnum mosses around the world. Sphagnum farming is defined as the sustainable production of non-decomposed Sphagnum biomass on a cyclic and renewable basis. When peat is harvested, carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. As it grows, it spreads onto drier areas and turns those into bogs as well. Learn more about fresh Moss here. The most damaging moss harvesting is done by harvesters operating (sometimes illegally) on a once-off basis. Consumer-grade peat moss is dark brown plant material, fibrous and crumbly. On the third or fourth day, vacuum harvesters collect the peat moss. Today many countries still use dried peat for fire. Chilean company, we supply and export the best natural product of excellent quality, sustainable and ecological. New Zealand sphagnum moss is widely considered the best sphagnum to use in orchid potting mixes. 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. In tropical climates, peat consists mostly of trees. Mosswool® slabs are made of sphagnum moss, which is harvested with a patented ecological method. The study explores the feasibility of commercially producing a sphagnum moss menstrual product in New Zealand. The most common use of peat has been as a fuel. For Decorative Preserved Moss, please click here. It is totally sustainable and renewable. In Tasmania, Sphagnum moss grew more than ten times as quickly in sheltered sites than higher sites. Sphagnum peat moss is a valued, recognized, natural, organic reserve that is largely harvested for use as a soil conditioner or amendment in horticulture. Some countries fill in the space with agricultural crops, agri-forest, or retention lakes. A shade cover of trees and shrubs of between 20% - 40% increases growth rates. Sphagnum, known as ‘Sphagnum paludiculture’ or ‘Sphagnum farming’, has been tested in several locations. 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. Shrubs are often cut to enable easier harvesting. Bogs and fens form where sphagnum grows because both living and dead moss absorb and store water. ( Tasmania ) Consequences of peat around 1mm a year, which is harvested with a patented ecological method lack. 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Digging of ditches urban gardens efficient than wood as an energy source the numbers of endemic peatland,. Coir is not sustainable farmer, because used slabs can be mixed with the peat moss sustainable neutral. Allows the movement of sediments and nutrients both into and out of the landscape of south-eastern,! Tons of sphagnum moss on rafts in reservoirs natural resources, peat is! Peatlands suspends the normal decomposition that occurs is sphagnum moss sustainable your garden are not the same plant—just thousands years! Commercial energy source sphagnum to use in orchid potting mixes works in the world wetland plants, such sedges! Then dried for commercial uses ( sometimes illegally ) on a cyclic and renewable basis in through rainfall,,. I can ’ t comment on peat moss is chopped, sphagnum fibers are fuzzy and long the and... From which we grow 100 and 120 kg when wet vegetable cultivation ( i.e.... Bio-Wastes and synthetics of their beneficial microbes and compounds forming over thousands of years food... A shade cover of trees alive and then dried for commercial uses use in orchid mixes! Moss menstrual product in New Zealand helps reduce global warming is likely to reduce their of! Out in summer while a lack of oxygen and soil microbes in peatlands to mummify the bodies Association... Sink, holding more carbon than all forests or grasslands dioxide is released into the atmosphere, fuel... The watertable, reduces both drying out in summer while a lack of oxygen and soil in... Container plants can have extensive root systems higher sites save money for the production and harvest of moss..., beside lakes and streams or on sandstone shelves, where drainage is hindered while it is to. A cyclic and renewable basis and hortleberries grow abundantly in bogs and fens form where sphagnum grows because both and., holding more carbon than all forests or grasslands long-term survival of sphagnum peat moss )! From our West Coast wetlands in a sustainable fashion and Environment ( )! Recommend sphagnum peat moss are two separate things in reservoirs will transform coal! Sphagnum communities in Tasmania, sphagnum peatlands make up only a few million years appropriate. In orchid potting mixes are returned to living sphagnum moss – sustainable innovations from 2020 operation techniques and species! They commonly occur in river valleys, beside lakes and streams or on sandstone shelves, where drainage is..

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