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Friday, April 19, 2013

Peat Bogs and Sphagnum Moss

Peat Bog, Frontenac National Park (Québec, Canada),
photo 
by Boréal, from wikipedia commons

Most terrarium tutorials advise the use of sphagnum moss to line the soil layer of a terrarium.  But few gardeners know what sphagnum moss is or how it arrives to gardening stores in convenient bundles.

The harmful commercial harvest of sphagnum moss involves the destruction of an endangered environment (bog wetland) and the release of previously-stored carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.  Harvesting sphagnum moss is tantamount to cutting lumber in an old growth forest as bogs take a long time to develop and mature.

The phytophactor blog explains this situation much more eloquently so I encourage you to click through and read more.

2 comments:

  1. Sphagnum moss actually regenerates quite quickly and if a 30% covering is left on the bog it can regenerate in 5 years and be a source of continuous sustainable harvest. (The blog you linked is referencing sphagnum peat not moss). Sphagnum peat on the other hand is usually not so sustainable. Countries differ in their policies to how and where sphagnum can be harvested, with some ensuring vulnerable bogs are protected and the ones that are harvested are allowed to regenerate. My tip would to be to know where your sphagnum is sourced from. NZ and Canada are quite on the ball when it comes to sustainable harvest, just make sure you research your product before you buy :)

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    1. Thanks for the clarification! Good to know.

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