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The next land use for Neova´s Komppasuo is planned in the EU’s Merlin project

After peat production next land use forms are planned and implemented in the Komppasuo peat production area in the municipality of Ii in Northern Finland within The EU’s Merlin project.

The Komppasuo project area covers 120 hectares of the former Neova-owned peat production area, where peat production ended in 2021. The project aims at the versatile implementation of different forms of land use. In Komppasuo area will be carried out with the aim of quickly restoring the nature of the mire, various wetlands and afforestation. Other forms of land use that emerge as design progresses are also possible.

Local stakeholders are involved as much as possible in land use planning. The first stakeholder event was organized by the Merlin Project as a Teams event in late March.

The environmental impact of the implemented measures will be monitored by the research infrastructure to be built in the area. The project will last until the autumn of 2025.

The researchers of the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) and Tapio Oy are the implementers of the research project at Komppasuo. Tapio Oy plans and implements the next land use of the Komppasuo peat production area and builds a research infrastructure for the site. SYKE is responsible for site measurements, environmental impact assessments, scalability reviews and economic and social impact reviews.

As the holder of the environmental permit, Neova will normally be responsible for the measures, monitoring and costs related to the aftercare of the area until the end of 2023. In the planning of the next land use, co-operation will be established between the implementers of the Merli project and Neova.

The Merlin project (Mainstreaming Ecological Restoration of freshwater-related ecosystems in a Landscape context: Innovation, upscaling and Transformation) is part of a large-scale EU Horizon 2020 Green Deal project. The Merlin project is implemented as an interdisciplinary collaboration. More than 40 European companies, universities, municipalities, nature conservation organizations and other organizations are participating in the project. The total funding for the project is EUR 21 million.

The Merlin project develops and demonstrates a variety of natural restoration solutions for freshwater ecosystems (wetlands, marshes, floodplains, rivers and lakes). At the same time, the effects of the measures are monitored, e.g. from a climate, diversity and water perspective. The project will implement 17 restoration sites across Europe. The aim is that restoration solutions can be utilized at the local level and scaled to the EU level.

In connection with the Merlin project, a national sub-project will be implemented with funding from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, which will produce an operating model for planning the further use of the area released from peat production. The starting point of the operating model is also to seek alternative activities for those entrepreneurs affected by the cessation of peat harvesting in the area. The operating model also takes into account land ownership, the landowner’s goals and possible obligations for further use, permit conditions in accordance with the Water Act and licensing needs.