Preliminary studies of the old peat data gathered by the Settlement Department of Ministry of Agriculture in Finland (ASO) in years 1945-1963
An old peatland inventory data collected by ASO is presented and the used investigation methods as well as some preliminary results are reviewed. Furthermore, the usability of the data for further research is discussed. In Finland, after the World War II in 1945, it was necessary to find new arable soil for the farmers, who had lost their estates in the peace treaty with Soviet Union, and also for others, who had been fighting in or were otherwise suffering from the war. Most of them were settled on the countryside in Finland. Because of the lack of sufficient farming land, it was necessary to find out new land suitable for farming. The easiest way was to study virgin peat soils for cultivation and some arable mineral soils for the new building sites. The University of Helsinki started the investigation in 1945. The field works continued up to the year 1963 and the detailed reports of 225 workers and 475 field work periods were recorded. The total investigated land area was about 1.5 M ha, about which ca 40% was peatlands covering 24 municipalities in Northern Finland.
The inventory was carried out by delimiting the area to the forest compartments where detailed information on the stand and the soil of each mire compartment were measured. These information were e.g., the detailed location of each compartment, the type of the forest and mire site, basic stand characteristics, soil type, peat thickness, the rate of the peat decomposition, the stoniness of the soil and the arability class of the soil (10 classes). Furthermore, the vegetation analysis were carried out on each site. Particularly, the occurrence of the fertile peatlands e.g. eutrophic fens were investigated. All information has been carefully recorded.
Most of the inventoried areas have, however, not been used for farming purposes after investigation later. Thus, the material might provide possibilities e.g., for studying the long-term ecological changes in the mire ecosystems. In the socio-economical point of view, the material may also enable clarifying the factors having influenced on the post-war prosperity of the settlements in the Finnish countryside.