Function: Water retention potential

The mires mitigate floods by storing water and releasing it slowly forwards. In the mires the flooding water spreads into a large area and the energy of the water flow is scaled down. Intact vegetation cover increases furthermore the water retention potential by absorbing water and stabilizing soil units. Peat has a high water absorbency potential.

Also other soils store water and release it gradually, but they do not reach the same water retention levels as mires. The capacity to absorb water is not that high in mineral soils and the surface run-offs occur more often. This happens especially on small-grained loam soils. Surface run-offs cause erosion and nutrient loss, and weaken the water quality in downstream water system.

Draining decreases considerably the water retention potential both in mires and in other soils.

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