Investment Portal of the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation

Swamps of the Arctic: fresh vegetables and cheap fuel

How Arctic swamps can provide people with shelter, fuel and fresh vegetables

26 november 2020

Almost a quarter of the Arctic zone is occupied by swamps. The frozen ground does not allow water to seep through it, and it remains on the surface. Because of the low temperature, water accumulates in the lowlands, overgrown with moss, lichens and grass. The vast expanses of the Arctic are, in fact, frozen swamps. Meanwhile, they can become another valuable resource for humans.

At first glance, the Arctic swamps are nothing but problems. It is not easy to build on them: in winter, the accumulated layer of peat freezes, and the swamps destroy the Foundation. In summer, it is difficult to predict how deep the ground will thaw, and buildings are again under threat.

After all, the piles on which they stand, at any time can cease to be a reliable support. Therefore, builders are forced to use expensive thermal stabilization systems that maintain negative temperatures under load-bearing piles in the summer. For the same reason, pipes for utilities or oil pipelines have to be pulled above the ground.

It is impossible to build permanent roads through the swamps, and in the summer you need special equipment to move along them.

However, environmentalists advise not to forget about the huge advantages of swamps. First of all, it is a colossal storage of the most valuable resource that humanity has already faced with a global shortage - fresh water. And very clean water, because the peat formed in the swamps absorbs all harmful substances and has bactericidal properties. This supply feeds rivers that flow into the Arctic ocean.

No less important is the fact that swamps prevent soil erosion, accumulate dust and maintain a favorable microclimate for humans, absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere almost as effectively as taiga forests. Per year, 1 hectare of swamp absorbs up to 1500 kg of carbon dioxide, releasing more than 500 kg of oxygen. And the swamp vegetation provides food not only for Arctic animals, but also for hundreds of species of birds that come in the polar summer to collect a rich harvest of Northern berries.

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