Survey of Energy Resources 2007
Peat - Resources
Whilst the measurement of peat resources on a global scale is difficult, with data for many countries being imprecise or only partially ascertained, it is clear that the world possesses a huge tonnage of peat overall. The total area of peatland, based on reports from WEC Member Committees and published sources (notably, Lappalainen, 1996), comes to over 2.7 million km2 or about 2% of the world's land surface. A considerable proportion of the world's peatlands is located in North America and the northern parts of Asia; significant deposits also occur in northern and central Europe and in Indonesia, whilst further accumulations have been identified in tropical Africa, Latin America and southern/eastern Asia. The average thickness of the peat layer in Europe has been computed as 1.57 metres; information available for other continents indicates that the average depth of the world's peatlands is 1.3-1.4 m (Lappalainen, 1996).
An indicative estimate of the total volume of peat in situ is thus in the order of 3 500 to 4 000 billion m3. The peat reserve base in major producing countries (covering 'reserves currently under active cultivation or economically recoverable under current market conditions') has been assessed (Couch, 1993) as 5 267 million tonnes (air-dried).
Fig. 8-1 (Distribution of mires)