In Finland it is allowed to peel off the vegetation and the surface layer of peat from peatlands without an environmental permit. It is not even required to inform the authorities of this activity.
Peat industry claims that this is an “environmentally friendly” way to produce growing media for gardening and greenhouses. But in practice harvesting has been done on unditched open peatlands, which possess considerable ecological values.
Peatlands are unique communities that can be destroyed in a matter of days but require thousands of years to form naturally. Even removing the surface layer obliterates the peatland’s natural flora and fauna, and its recovery will take dozens of years.