Uses, functions, and management of peatlands
This chapter reviews the historical and present-day uses of peatlands. Agriculturial topics include hayfields and pastures, cultivation, and transformations of peat after drainage and conversions. Forestry involves improving growth on already tree-covered peatlands, as well as afforesting open or peat-harvested areas. With drainage, sites become drier and develop successionally toward upland site types. Peatland extraction is described; uses of peat are for fuel, horticulture, organic compounds, and absorption and waste treatment. Functions include the stabilization of streamflow, filtration of sediments and pollutants, sequestering of carbon and nutrients, and habitats for diversity and threatened species. Values are ecological understanding, economic, social, peat archives, and heritage. The management of peatland is considered under sustainable development, impact indicators, scale of management, conservation, inventory, restoration, reclamation, and afteruse. A list of important peatland societies and organizations is given.
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