about Sphagnum as renewable resource.

The application of the project TORFMOOS (peat moss, Sphagnum as renewable resource) required a preparation period of six months. During this time the then current stage of research was assessed regarding the objective: “How to increase the yield of different Sphagnum species?” For this purpose an extensive literature review was conducted and experts in the research field consulted.

Moss peat, mined from peatlands, is an invaluable resource in commercial horticulture and is utilized in large amounts for this purpose. To replace peat with a product of the same quality and of sustainable and environmentally friendly origin a first idea involved the production of new peat itself. However, during the conduction of the extensive literature review it was discovered that the newly formed Sphagnum material loses increasingly part of its biomass with time progressing. Harvest at an earlier time would result in far higher yields. The aim of the TORFMOOS project was therefore to investigate whether fresh Sphagnum biomass would be a product suitable for horticultural purposes or if the material has to have some degree of humification beforehand (Sphagnum peat). Further research was required regarding the abiotic growing conditions to enable the optimal establishment and productivity of Sphagnum mosses.