Fisheries and Land Resources

Forestry and Agrifoods

Peatland Development

There are about 1.3 million hectares of peatlands and bogs measuring 30 hectares or more in size. The soils on these peatlands can be quite productive with suitable cultivation and management practices.

Besides the production of agricultural and horticultural crops as well as landscaping sods, the peatlands have great potential for the production of horticultural peat as a growing medium.

Development History

Drainage of peatlands for agriculture started in the 1950's, mostly as experiments to determine their suitability for establishing a system of regional pastures PDF (125 KB). During the 1960's and 1970's, approximately 866 hectares of peatland were developed on 16 regional pastures and by 1977 about 360 hectares of peatland were drained on private farms; however, this amount declined drastically during the late 1970's and early 80's. Nevertheless, during the 1980's a new interest developed in the use of peatlands, especially for the production of vegetables. By 1999, there were 15 vegetable farms established on peatlands with a combined area of approximately 130 hectares and 14 nursery sod farms are established on approximately 115 hectares. A further 15 hectares are used for hay production and about 100 hectares are used for horticultural peat production. The most recent peatland use is a number of experimental cranberry production sites.

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