Bringing Back Peat

Peatland and taiga forest in northern Finland. NATURE PICTURE LIBRARY / ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

It has been a year since we linked to a peat-in-place story, of which there cannot be too many (so thank you, Yale e360):


Finland Drained Its Peatlands. He’s Helping Bring Them Back

Tero Mustonen has led a successful effort to restore roughly 80 areas of ecologically critical peatlands across his native Finland. In an interview, he talks about the importance of bringing Indigenous knowledge to rewilding initiatives in far northern regions and beyond.

Until a century ago, almost a third of Finland was covered in pristine peatlands, which comprise one of the Earth’s largest and most important carbon sinks. Since then, however, half of Finnish peatlands have been strip-mined for fuel or drained to make room for forest plantations.

But Tero Mustonen is turning the tide. After campaigning to restore a polluting peat mine in his village near the Russian border, he has been masterminding the rewilding of about 80 areas of peat across the country. Last week, Mustonen, 46, won a Goldman Environmental Prize for his work through the NGO he founded, the Snowchange Cooperative, which has taken on a global agenda for ecological and native cultural restoration from Alaska and northern Russian to Polynesia and New Zealand.

In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Mustonen talks about the challenge of halting peat mining and launching rewilding efforts in Finland, the return of birds and fish to restored areas, and his organization’s collaboration with Sámi Indigenous and Finnish rural communities. “Our approach supports traditional knowledge and Sámi rights,” he says, “and recognizes that nature has its own distinct value separate from financial value. We are proud of that.”…

Read the whole article here.

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