Peatland Ecology Research Group (PERG)
Université Laval
The peat industry

Harvesting methods

Canada is the second largest producer of peat moss, after Germany. Peat harvesting takes place primarily in New Brunswick and Quebec (70% of the production), and, to a lesser extent, in Nova Scotia, Manitoba and Alberta. In Canada, production is about 1.4 million tonnes per year. 

peat was harvested in shovels by the method of block-cut in long parallel trenches. Peat blocks were dried on medians separating the trenches.


From 1970, we started to harvest peat with large vacuums. To do this, we must first remove the surface vegetation to expose peat. Then we have to dig ditches to drain water that swells the bog and to wait until the ground is dried by the wind and sun. The vacuum then harvests a very thin layer of peat. A bog can be exploited for several decades, because you have to go hundreds of times in the same place before reaching the depth where peat is no longer good enough for harvest.



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