The peatland map of Europe
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionMires and Peat. 2017, 19 (22), 1-17. 10.19189/MaP.2016.OMB.264
Based on the ‘European Mires Book’ of the International Mire Conservation Group (IMCG), this article provides a composite map of national datasets as the first comprehensive peatland map for the whole of Europe. We also present estimates of the extent of peatlands and mires in each European country individually and for the entire continent. A minimum peat thickness criterion has not been strictly applied, to allow for (often historically determined) country-specific definitions. Our ‘peatland’ concept includes all ‘mires’, which are peatlands where peat is being formed. The map was constructed by merging national datasets in GIS while maintaining the mapping scales of the original input data. This ‘bottom-up’ approach indicates that the overall area of peatland in Europe is 593,727 km². Mires were found to cover more than 320,000 km² (around 54 % of the total peatland area). If shallow-peat lands (< 30 cm peat) in European Russia are also taken into account, the total peatland area in Europe is more than 1,000,000 km2 , which is almost 10 % of the total surface area. Composite inventories of national peatland information, as presented here for Europe, may serve to identify gaps and priority areas for field survey, and help to cross-check and calibrate remote sensing based mapping approaches.