For a long time, the moors were feared - forbidding, dangerous places that could be utilized neither for forestry nor for agriculture. Large swathes of moor were drained in the 19th century to make them usable and were often used unsuccessfully for forestry. Back then, people were unaware of how valuable these environments are, with their diverse roles as a reservoir for water, carbon storage, and an environment for rare species. Drainage of the moors and the associated loss of water largely destroyed the moors. Especially after reunification, the mentality changed. Moors that were still well-preserved were designated as nature preserves and moors capable of being rehabilitated have since been re-watered in order to prevent further destruction and support self-regulation.
Exploitation of the Ore Mountain moors probably started in the 18th century. People living in the sparsely populated ridge area made a living with forestry. This was in demand for mining and emerging trades. They recognized that they could use the peat as fuel for their fires. It was therefore cut out by hand and the first meadows were established. Later the moors were cleared industrially as well in some parts. Starting in 1990, all peat removal was halted in Saxony - the restoration phase ran its course.