Cut-away areas released from peat production are uncontaminated land that is free of weed seeds. The most common forms of after-use include forestry and agriculture, paludification or wetland creation. The decision on the type of after-use is made by the landowner.
After-use should be started as quickly as possible after production ends. Then the area is returned into a carbon-binding ecosystem. The impacts on biodiversity, watercourses and the landscape are also minimized.
The drainage method used during the production phase determines what new use the area can be put to. Gravimetrically drained production areas can generally be used as arable land or for forestry. Using cut-away areas for agriculture reduces the need to carve out fields at other peatlands.
Once production ends, pump-drained production areas become reservoirs of varying depths. Then the after-use options are either wetland creation or mire regeneration.
A large proportion of the current production areas were established on forest-drained mire areas. In future peat production will be increasingly concentrated in ditched peatlands that have lost their original natural value.
Once the peat has been removed, active mire regeneration can return the areas to peat-forming ecosystems. In the long term, these can significantly increase regional biodiversity.
Creating wetlands is also valuable nature management. Properly established wetland bird sanctuaries are rich habitats, where many birds and other fauna find suitable living environments. Wetlands can be important locally or even regionally for bird-watching or hunting. Wetlands can also be used in the purification of run-off water from other land use, reducing the nutrient and suspended solid load to watercourses.