Current issue: 55(2)
One of the factors that influence if a peatland is suitable for draining is the time required until fellings bring income, even if it the discounting calculations has uncertainties. This article discusses the factors that affect the economic profitability of draining peatlands.
The profitability of draining increases the more the yield or increase of the yield exceeds the costs of draining. Estimation of the yield is in Finland based on the peatland type, which reflects production capacity of the site. In addition, the growing stock of the site can vary in peatlands within same peatland type. The density and size of ditches affects the draining costs. Thus, productivity based on a peatland type alone does not describe well enough the drainability of a peatland area.
In Finnish classification of site quality of the peatlands, the treeless bogs and rich fens have been given too high a class compared to well stocked spruce swamps and pine swamps. Also, the drainability of two spruce and pine swamps can differ markedly in economic point of view if the tree’s quality, volume and ability to recover differ. The article discusses different methods to assess profitability of draining that have been descibed in the previous studies. It is suggested that the classification of peatlands by their drainability should be more selective.
The PDF includes a summary in German.
The study describes the relationships between a method developed by the author for the calculation of the profitability of forest drainage and the old biological method. The calculations were based on empirical data, and they aimed at finding out the effect of a variation in the profitability limit in the areas in hectares to be drained, and on the profitability of drainage. The study deals also with the profitability of present-day drainage activities. The results showed that the profitability coefficient (the ratio between the discounted increase in returns and the costs of drainage) averages 3.04 for the whole country. The corresponding value was 5.68 for Southern Finland, 3.19 for Central Finland and 1.67 for Northern Finland.
The PDF includes a summary in English.
The study is a part in a more comprehensive series of investigations into the profitability of forest improvement measures. The present paper describes a new method for calculation of the suitability of various peatlands for forest drainage. According to this method, the net profit is calculated as the difference between the gross profit and the costs, and the profitability coefficient, as the ratio between the gross profit and the costs. The most important factors used for calculation of the gross profit and the costs are as follows: the site quality index, the volume of the tree stand capable of development at the time of draining, the temperature sum and the stumpage development at the time of draining, the temperature sum and the stumpage price. For use in the field, simplified auxliary tables have been worked out.
The PDF includes a summary in English.
There are about 155,000 ha of fen-like pine swamps (eutrophic pine bogs) in Finland, major part of which are situated in Northern Finland. In the classification system for drainability of peatlands, this type of peatlands had been placed in the first class. The study presents a new evaluation for the peatland type, based on vegetation and tree growth.
According to a previous study, the vegetation of fen-like pine swamps can be characterised by distinctive plant communities that seem to reflect the fertility and high pH of the underlying soil. In this study, the fen-like pine swamps were divided in two subtypes based on the vegetation: proper fen-like pine swamps and fen-like pine swamps with ericaceous shrubs. Both have distinctive vegetation, which is described in the article. The distribution of the subtypes seems to be different: fen-like pine swamps with ericaceous shrubs are more common in eastern parts of Northern Finland. The two subtypes could be divided in different drainability classes according to tree growth, proper fen-like pine swamps belonging to class 1 and fen-like pine swamps with ericaceous shrubs to class 4.
The article includes a summary in English.
Draining of peatlands requires careful planning because of its costs. Only peatlands that have sufficient growth capacity in future should be drained. The future growth capacity can be estimated based on peatland type, the botanical composition of the peat layers and the quality of the surface peat layer of the swamp.
Also the draining methods should be cost effective. To keep the amount of drains low, the drain network and drain lines should be planned so that each drain has high drain effectivity. Most of the peatlands drained in Finland have been forested. Especially the young trees regain soon their growth when the peat begins to dry. It is recommended to leave the young trees, but most profitable to harvest the older forests in the drained area. Practical experiences have shown that even drained open peatlands can be naturally regenerated. Natural regeneration is almost guaranteed to succeed on peatlands, which have seed trees.
A summary in Finnish is included in the PDF.