Finland, Ireland, and Scotland are the biggest consumers of peat as a fuel. European peatlands make up 12.5%, followed by South America (11.5%), Africa (4.4%), and Australasia and Oceania (1.6%). Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. Acids can corrode some natural materials. If a media asset is downloadable, a download button appears in the corner of the media viewer. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Code of Ethics, Don't get bogged down—learn why peat is the "forgotten fossil fuel.". In horticulture, peat is used to increase the moisture-holding capacity of sandy soils and to increase the water infiltration rate of clay soils. Found one of the many blanket bogs covering Scotland. Find Lascelles Peat in the United States. Peat, fuel consisting of spongy material formed by the partial decomposition of organic matter, primarily plant material, in wetlands such as swamps, muskegs, bogs, fens, and moors. However, peat bogs can be found from Tierra del Fuego to Indonesia. Also known as petroleum or crude oil. Traditional peat harvesting involves a farmer or laborer manually cutting thick strips of peat with a large, sharp hoe. On the other side of the spectrum, the desert southwestern region of the United States depends on the Central Arizona Project canals to transport water from the Colorado River in order to support agriculture and urban areas. See more. Privacy Notice | Peat is an organic wetland soil made from part-decomposed plant debris, more commonly found in cool environments, such as northern Russia, Europe and … Our editors will review what youâve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. When you reach out to him or her, you will need the page title, URL, and the date you accessed the resource. (Christian Als) Thus far, the results have proved disappointing. Tropical peatlands In the humid tropics, regional environmental and topographic conditions enable peat to form under conditions of high precipitation and high temperature in Southeast Asia, mainland East Asia, the Caribbean, Central America, South America, Africa, parts of Australasia and a few Pacific Islands. Over thousands of years, layers accumulate at a rate of about 0.5 to 1 millimeter per year. For information on user permissions, please read our Terms of Service. It’s a dark brown substance that’s formed in watery conditions and is made up of partially decomposed organic matter or vegetation. Omissions? The bog's acidity prevents this vegetation from fully decaying. Plant material decomposes more rapidly in groundwater rich in nutrients than in elevated bogs with heavy rainfall. having to do with factories or mechanical production. Access, or the lack thereof, contributes to a place’s economic development, political relationships, and culture. But it is also found throughout Ireland, northern England, Scandinavia, and parts of Russia and the U.S. Peat formation is influenced by moisture and temperature. The moss grows on top of the bog, and peat is produced underneath. wetland bog from which peat has been removed by hand or industrial means. The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. This is called milled peat. For example, the Great Plains region of the United States is known for its abundance of fertile soil. Food and Agriculture Organization: Energy Use of Peat, National Geographic News: Support for Saving Peatlands Is Squishy but Solidifying, International Energy Agency: StatisticsâCoal and Peat. Like all wetlands, bogs are inhabited by marshy plants, including trees, grasses, and moss. https://www.britannica.com/technology/peat, National Geographic - Education - Peat: The Forgotten Fossil Fuel, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations - Energy Use of Peat, peatland - Children's Encyclopedia (Ages 8-11), peat - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up), Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It is also used to soften aquaria water and to mimic habitats for freshwater fish. Updates? The places where peat is formed, peat bogs, are found in river valleys (floodplains and terraces) and at water divides. Peat can be found in moors all over the world. 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