CUT-AWAY PEATLAND RE-CULTIVATION WITH FAST GROWING WOODY PLANTATIONS: COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS.
In Latvia peat production is historically important economic sector, giving significant contribution to rural economic development and providing work places in rural areas, where other job opportunities are limited. Every peat extraction field has certain lifespan, based on economic, social or ecological assumptions. Every peat field could be extracted for set period of time, after which peat extraction is not feasible any more. Current legislation in Latvia requires re-cultivating of places, where mineral resources, including peat, were extracted. Aim of the study is to evaluate afforestation as one of the cut-away peatland re-cultivation possibility. Economic analysis were done for extracted peat field afforestation with birch, black alder, grey alder, pine, spruce, hybrid aspen, poplar and willow. The economic calculations were done comparing different timber products from plantations, different planting materials and plantation lifespans. Lowest investment costs for plantation establishment on cut-away peatlands are for pine and spruce plantations and highest for willow plantations. Highest revenues in plantations with 20 years rotation cycle are in poplar plantations with 0.2 m cuttings and lowest in grey alder plantations. In plantations with rotation cycle 40 years highest revenues are in hybrid aspen plantations and lowest in pine plantations.