G. Gaudig, H. Joosten, D. Kamermann
The most important raw material in professional horticulture is white peat, which has developed from peatmosses (Sphagnum) in living bogs. About 30 millions m3 of white peat are globally used for this purpose annually. The use of (white) peat involves two main problems:
  1. Peat extraction destroys the important functions of bogs for nature conservation and climate regulation (as carbon storage).
  2. Peat is a finite raw material. In most countries of Western and Central Europe the stocks of fossil white peat are nearly depleted.
Therefore a non-polluting alternative ensuring a lasting and sustainable supply of raw material has to be developed. This alternative could be the cultivation of peatmosses (Sphagnum farming). Fresh peatmoss biomass has the same physical and chemical properties as white peat and enables plant cultivation without a loss of quality (Emmel, 2008). In a three year research project "Peatmoss as a renewable resource" (financed by the German governmental Agency of Renewable Resources FNR), the University of Greifswald in cooperation with the Institute of Soil Technology in Bremen and the German peat industry, studied the optimal conditions for Sphagnum growth. The first promising results show that with aimed measures and nursing (e.g., water level regulation) peatmoss growth can be encouraged.
Gaudig, G., Joosten, H. and Kamermann, D. (2008). GROWING GROWING MEDIA: PROMISES OF SPHAGNUM BIOMASS. Acta Hortic. 779, 165-172
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2008.779.19
Sphagnum farming, growing media, renewable resource, peat, cut-over peatlands

Acta Horticulturae