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Destruction caused by peat extraction

The extraction and use of peat for horticulture is unsustainable and largely unnecessary. It leads to the destruction of peatlands, which are rapidly disappearing unique habitats. Peat bogs are important for biodiversity, slowing global warming through storing carbon and managing flood risks. Peat bogs are a threatened habitat world-wide.

Peat has only been used extensively in horticulture for the last 40 years or so we can manage without it!

Of the remaining peatlands in the UK, 80% have been degraded from damage by extraction or drainage. 94% of the UKs lowland raised bog habitats have been severely damaged or destroyed. The UKs use of peat based composts causes 630,000 tonnes of carbon emissions a year, equivalent to an extra 300,000 cars on our roads.

Sustainability of coir

What is coir?

Coir is a by product of coconut-growing, once regarded as waste, but now used as a sustainable alternative to peat. Like peat, it has excellent moisture retention properties encouraging good root growth. Unlike those based on peat, coir-based composts do not tend to crust, making water absorption on watering easier.

How sustainable is it (compared with peat)?

The main conclusions from this study are that the coir pith supply chain brings significant positive benefits in terms of supporting the rural economy in India and Sri Lanka. Availability and quality of coir pith in both countries can satisfy the future needs of the UK horticultural sector, particularly if the sector is prepared to work more in partnership with their suppliers. (P14)

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