The handbook Ecological restoration in drained peatlands compiles the Finnish knowhow accumulated over more than 25 years of peatland habitat restoration, together with useful information on peat and the hydrology of peatlands. The handbook is intended for everyone involved in the planning and implementation of active restoration measures in peatlands that have been drained to promote forestry.

Finland has an international responsibility for maintaining the diversity of different types of peatlands in the northern boreal zone. The diversity of peatlands in Finland is the largest in the world compared to any other similar sized area. The large scale ditching for forestry purposes in the latter part of the 20th century has had an immense degrading impact on the natural values of peatlands.

Ecological restoration helps ecosystems to recover
Ecological restoration involves measures designed to help ecosystems that have been impoverished, damaged or destroyed due to human activity to revert to their natural state, or as near to their natural state as possible.

Natural conditions and ecological processes can be re-established in peatland ecosystems affected by human activity much more rapidly with the help of well-planned restoration measures than by leaving them to return to a near natural state through slow natural processes.

One of the primary objectives of restoration is to improve the quality of species’ habitats and biotopes, and thus slow or halt the rate of biodiversity loss.


Cotton-grasses can readily utilize the nutrients released in connection with peatland restoration, and they proliferate in many restored peatland sites for a few years after restoration. This photo was taken two years after this site was restoredPhoto: Maarit Similä.





Best practices from Finland
A new comprehensive handbook for the restoration of drained peatlands was published in Finnish in 2013. The handbook was produced with the help of dozens of Finnish peatland experts.

The abridged English-language version of the guidebook summarises the most important contents of the full Finnish version.Ecological restoration in drained peatlands – best practices from FinlandMaarit Similä, Kaisu Aapala and Jouni Penttinen(eds)

Metsähallitus Natural Heritage Services and Finnish Environment Institute SYKE, 2014The publication of the English version was financed through the Boreal Peatland LIFE Project ( .

The aim is to increase awareness of the ecological bases for peatland habitat restoration, and thereby promote effective peatland restoration work both inside protected areas and in areas where commercial forestry is practised.

More information:

Maarit Similä, Conservation Biologist, Metsähallitus Natural Heritage Services: maarit.simila(at)