Peat

Peat (turf) is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation. One of the most common components is Sphagnum moss, although many other plants can contribute. Soils that contain mostly peat are known as a histosol. Peat forms in wetland conditions, where flooding obstructs flows of oxygen from the atmosphere, reducing rates of decomposition.

Bogs are the most important source of peat, but other less common wetland types also deposit peat, including fens, pocosins, and peat swamp forests. There are many other good words for lands dominated by peat including moors, muskeg, or mires. Landscapes covered in peat also have specific kinds of plants, particularly Sphagnum moss, Ericaceous shrubs, and sedges (see bog for more information on this aspect of peat). Since organic matter accumulates over thousands of years, peat deposits also provide records of past vegetation and climates stored in plant remains, particularly pollen. Hence they allow humans to reconstruct past environments and changes in human land use.

Peat is harvested as an important source of fuel in certain parts of the world. By volume, there are about 4 trillion m³ of peat in the world covering a total of around 2% of global land area (about 3 million km²), containing about 8 billion terajoules of energy.

Peat is not generally regarded as a renewable source of energy, due to its extraction rate in industrialized countries far exceeding its slow regrowth rate of 1mm per year, and as it is also reported that peat regrowth takes place only in 30-40% of peatlands. It is for these reasons that the UN do not classify peat as 'renewable' but as a fossil fuel. Similarly the IPCC do not classify peat amongst renewable biomass or biofuels, due to the length of time for peat to re-accumulate after harvesting, but as a fossil fuel.

Peat fires have been responsible for some large public health disasters, including the 1997 Southeast Asian haze.

Read more about Peat:  Geographic Distribution, Formation, Types of Peat Material, Characteristics and Uses, Environmental and Ecological Issues, Wise Use and Protection

Other articles related to "peat":

Peat - Wise Use and Protection
... the United Nations Development Programme launched the Wetlands Ecosystem and Tropical Peat Swamp Forest Rehabilitation Project ... In November 2002, the International Peat Society and the International Mire Conservation Group (IMCG) published guidelines on the "Wise Use of Mires and Peatlands — Backgrounds and Principles ... In June 2008, the International Peat Society published the book Peatlands and Climate Change, summarizing the currently available knowledge on the topic ...
How Lakes Disappear
... accelerate this closing process significantly because they partially decompose to form peat soils that fill the shallows ... Conversely, peat soils in a marsh can naturally burn and reverse this process to recreate a shallow lake ... These become a new habitat for other plants, like peat moss when conditions are right, and animals, many of which are very rare ...
La Brière
... La Brière (translated as Passion and Peat) is a 1923 novel by Alphonse de Chateaubriant that won the Grand prix du roman de l'Académie française for ... as Brière, in which the traditional occupation of peat-cutting is becoming increasingly unsustainable as the peat runs out ...
Akraberg - A Peatland Landscape
... the southern tip of Suðuroy features relict peat cuttings of various age – from the 1950s and perhaps centuries before – as well as mounds of peat ... The removal of dried peat from the torvløð and the continued use of the platforms led to a gradual increase in torvlað height ... General comparisons are made with peat mounds from the British Isles ...
Sabangau National Park - Geography
... the Kelompok Hutan Kahayan or Sabangau peat swamp forest (5,300 km2), between the Katingan and Kahayan rivers ... The peat swamp forest is a dual ecosystem, with diverse tropical trees standing on a 10m - 12m layer of peat - partly decayed and waterlogged plant material - which in turn ... However, since the failure of the Mega Rice Project, which drained large areas of peat forest in an attempt to create rice paddies, no further efforts ...