Peat

Peat (/piːt/), also known as turf (/tɜːrf/), is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation or organic matter. It is unique to natural areas called peatlands, bogs, mires, moors, or muskegs.[1][2] The peatland ecosystem is the most efficient carbon sink on the planet,[2] because peatland plants capture CO2 naturally released from the peat, maintaining an equilibrium. In natural peatlands, the "annual rate of biomass production is greater than the rate of decomposition", but it takes "thousands of years for peatlands to develop the deposits of 1.5 to 2.3 m [4.9 to 7.5 ft], which is the average depth of the boreal [northern] peatlands".[2] Sphagnum moss, also called peat moss, is one of the most common components in peat, although many other plants can contribute. The biological features of Sphagnum mosses act to create a habitat aiding peat formation, a phenomenon termed 'habitat manipulation'.[3] Soils consisting primarily of peat are known as histosols. Peat forms in wetland conditions, where flooding or stagnant water obstructs the flow of oxygen from the atmosphere, slowing the rate of decomposition.[4]

Peatlands, particularly bogs, are the primary source of peat,[5] although less-common wetlands including fens, pocosins, and peat swamp forests also deposit peat. Landscapes covered in peat are home to specific kinds of plants including Sphagnum moss, ericaceous shrubs, and sedges (see bog for more information on this aspect of peat). Because organic matter accumulates over thousands of years, peat deposits provide records of past vegetation and climate by preserving plant remains, such as pollen. This allows the reconstruction of past environments and study changes in land use.[6]

Peat is harvested as an important source of fuel in certain parts of the world. By volume, there are about 4 trillion cubic metres (5.2 trillion cubic yards) of peat in the world, covering a total of around 2% of the global land area (about 3 million square kilometres or 1.2 million square miles), containing about 8 billion terajoules of energy.[7] Over time, the formation of peat is often the first step in the geological formation of other fossil fuels such as coal, particularly low-grade coal such as lignite.[8]

Depending on the agency, 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 1 mm per year,[9] and as it is also reported that peat regrowth takes place only in 30-40% of peatlands.[10] Because of this, the UNFCCC,[11] and another organization affiliated with the United Nations classified peat as a fossil fuel.[12] However, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has begun to classify peat as a "slowly renewable" fuel.[13] This is also the classification used by many in the peat industry.[14] At 106 g CO2/MJ,[15] the carbon dioxide emission intensity of peat is higher than that of coal (at 94.6 g CO2/MJ) and natural gas (at 56.1) (IPCC).

2013-05-03 Fotoflug Leer Papenburg DSCF6844
Peat stacks in Südmoslesfehn (district of Oldenburg, Germany) in 2013
Peat gatherers
Peat gatherers at Westhay, Somerset Levels in 1905
Peat stacks and cutting
Peat stacks and cutting at Westhay, Somerset Levels
Harvesting the peat
Harvesting the peat at Westhay, Somerset Levels
Peat Lewis
Peat in Lewis, Scotland
Torfabbau-
Peat extraction in East Frisia, Germany

Formation

Peat forms when plant material does not fully decay in acidic and anaerobic conditions. It is composed mainly of wetland vegetation: principally bog plants including mosses, sedges, and shrubs. As it accumulates, the peat holds water. This slowly creates wetter conditions that allow the area of wetland to expand. Peatland features can include ponds, ridges, and raised bogs.[5]

Most modern peat bogs formed 12,000 years ago in high latitudes after the glaciers retreated at the end of the last ice age.[16] Peat usually accumulates slowly at the rate of about a millimetre per year.[9] The estimated carbon content is 547 GtC (Northern Peatlands), 50 GtC (Tropical Peatlands) and 15 GtC (South America).[17]

Types of peat material

Peat material is either fibric, hemic, or sapric. Fibric peats are the least decomposed and consist of intact fibre. Hemic peats are partially decomposed and sapric are the most decomposed.[18]

Phragmites peat are composed of reed grass, Phragmites australis, and other grasses. It is denser than many other types of peat.

Engineers may describe a soil as peat which has a relatively high percentage of organic material. This soil is problematic because it exhibits poor consolidation properties – it cannot be easily compacted to serve as a stable foundation to support loads, such as roads or buildings.

Peatlands distribution

In a widely cited article, Joosten and Clarke (2002) defined peatlands or mires (which they claim are the same)[Notes 1][1] as,

...the most widespread of all wetland types in the world, representing 50 to 70% of global wetlands. They cover over 4 million square kilometres [1.5 million square miles] or 3% of the land and freshwater surface of the planet. In these ecosystems are found one third of the world’s soil carbon and 10% of global freshwater resources. These ecosystems are characterized by the unique ability to accumulate and store dead organic matter from Sphagnum and many other non-moss species, as peat, under conditions of almost permanent water saturation. Peatlands are adapted to the extreme conditions of high water and low oxygen content, of toxic elements and low availability of plant nutrients. Their water chemistry varies from alkaline to acidic. Peatlands occur on all continents, from the tropical to boreal and Arctic zones from sea level to high alpine conditions.

— Joosten and Clarke 2002

Peatlands are areas of land with naturally formed layers of peat. They can be found in at least 175 countries and cover around 4 million square kilometres (1.5 million square miles); that is 3% of the world’s land area. In Europe, peatlands extend to about 515,000 km2 (199,000 sq mi).[19] About 60% of the world's wetlands are made of peat.

Peat deposits are found in many places around the world, including northern Europe and North America. The North American peat deposits are principally found in Canada and the Northern United States. Some of the world's largest peatlands include the West Siberian Lowland, the Hudson Bay Lowlands, and the Mackenzie River Valley.[20] There is less peat in the Southern Hemisphere, in part because there is less land. That said, the vast Magellanic Moorland in South America (Southern Patagonia/Tierra del Fuego) is an extensive peat-dominated landscape.[20] Peat can be found in New Zealand, Kerguelen, the Falkland Islands, and Indonesia (Kalimantan [Sungai Putri, Danau Siawan, Sungai Tolak], Rasau Jaya [West Kalimantan], and Sumatra). Indonesia has more tropical peatlands and mangrove forests than any other nation on earth, but Indonesia is losing wetlands by 100,000 hectares (250,000 acres) per year.[21]

About 7% of all peatlands have been exploited for agriculture and forestry.[22] Under proper conditions, peat will turn into lignite coal over geologic periods of time.

General characteristics and uses

Peat-Stack in Ness, Outer Hebrides, Scotland
A peat stack in Ness on the Isle of Lewis (Scotland)
Peatcuttingulsta
Worked bank in blanket bog, near Ulsta, Yell, Shetland Islands
Shovel-Falklands
Falkland Islanders shovelling peat in the 1950s
Feu de tourbe
Peat fire

Under pressure, water is forced out of peat, which is soft and easily compressed, and once dry can be used as fuel. In many countries, including Ireland and Scotland, peat has traditionally been used for cooking and domestic heating, and peat is stacked to dry in rural areas. It remains harvested on an industrial scale for this purpose in countries such as Ireland and Finland. Its insulating properties make it useful in industry.

Although humans have many uses for peat, it presents severe problems at times. Wet or dry, it can be a major fire hazard. Peat fires may burn for great lengths of time, or smoulder underground and reignite after winter if an oxygen source is present. Because they are easily compressed under minimal weight, peat deposits pose major difficulties to builders of structures, roads, and railways. When the West Highland railway line was built across Rannoch Moor in western Scotland, its builders had to float the tracks on a multi-thousand-ton mattress of tree roots, brushwood, earth and ash.

In the Bronze and Iron Ages, people used peat bogs for rituals to nature gods and spirits. Bodies of the victims of such sacrifices have been found in various places in Scotland, England, Ireland, and especially northern Germany and Denmark. They are almost perfectly preserved by the tanning properties of the acidic water (see Tollund Man for one of the most famous examples of a bog body). Peat wetlands also used to have a degree of metallurgical importance, being during the Dark Ages the primary source of bog iron that was used to create swords and armour for Vikings. Many peat swamps along the coast of Malaysia serve as a natural means of flood mitigation, with any overflow being absorbed by the peat, provided forests are still present to prevent peat fires.

Characteristics and uses by nation

Finland

Toppila power plant
The Toppila Power Station, a peat-fired facility in Oulu, Finland

The climate, geography, and environment of Finland favours bog and peat bog formation. Thus, peat is available in considerable quantities. This abundant resource (often mixed with wood at an average of 2.6%) is burned to produce heat and electricity. Peat provides around 6.2% of Finland's annual energy production, second only to Ireland.[23] The contribution of peat to greenhouse gas emissions of Finland can exceed 10 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide per year – equal to the total emissions of all passenger-car traffic in Finland.

Finland classifies peat as a slowly renewing biomass fuel.[24] Peat producers in Finland often claim that peat is a special form of biofuel because of the relatively fast retake rate of released CO2 if the bog is not forested for the following 100 years. Also, agricultural and forestry-drained peat bogs actively release more CO2 annually than is released in peat energy production in Finland. The average regrowth rate of a single peat bog, however, is indeed slow, from 1,000 up to 5,000 years. Furthermore, it is a common practice to forest used peat bogs instead of giving them a chance to renew. This leads to lower levels of CO2 storage than the original peat bog.

At 106 g CO2/MJ,[25] the carbon dioxide emissions of peat are higher than those of coal (at 94.6 g CO2/MJ) and natural gas (at 56.1). According to one study, increasing the average amount of wood in the fuel mixture from the current 2.6% to 12.5% would take the emissions down to 93 g CO2/MJ. That said, little effort is being made to achieve this.[26]

The International Mire Conservation Group (IMCG) in 2006 urged the local and national governments of Finland to protect and conserve the remaining pristine peatland ecosystems. This includes the cessation of drainage and peat extraction in intact mire sites and the abandoning of current and planned groundwater extraction that may affect these sites. A proposal for a Finnish peatland management strategy was presented to the government in 2011, after a lengthy consultation phase.[27]

Ireland

BordnaMona 2930
Industrial-milled peat production in a section of the Bog of Allen in the Irish Midlands: The 'turf' in the foreground is machine-produced for domestic use.

In Ireland, large-scale domestic and industrial peat usage is widespread. In the Republic of Ireland, a state-owned company called Bord na Móna is responsible for managing peat extraction. It processes the extracted peat into milled peat which is used in power stations and sells processed peat fuel in the form of peat briquettes which are used for domestic heating. These are oblong bars of densely compressed, dried, and shredded peat. Peat moss is a manufactured product for use in garden cultivation. Turf (dried out peat sods) is also commonly used in rural areas.

Russia

Shatura steam power plant (2010)
Shatura Power Station. Russia has the largest peat power capacity in the world

Use of peat for energy production was prominent in the Soviet Union, especially in 1965. In 1929, over 40% of the Soviet Union's electric energy came from peat, which dropped to 1% by 1980.

In the 1960s, larger sections of swamps and bogs in Western Russia were drained for agricultural and mining purposes.[28] Plans are underway to increase peat output and increase peat's contribution to Russian energy generation.[29] There is concern about the environmental impact as peat fields are flammable, drainage degrades ecosystems, and burning of peat releases carbon dioxide.[29] Due to 2010 forest and peat fires, the Russian government is under heavy pressure to finance re-flooding of the previously drained bogs around Moscow. The initial costs for the programme are estimated to be about 20 to 25 billion rubles; that is close to 500 million euros (540 million USD).

Currently, Russia is responsible for 17% of the world's peat production and 20% of that peat (1.5 million tons) is used for energy purposes.[30][31] Shatura Power Station in Moscow Oblast and Kirov Power Station in Kirov Oblast are the two largest peat power stations in the world.

The Netherlands

500vc ex leg copy
Peat covered area (brown) 2500 years BP in the Netherlands

2500 years BP the area now named the Netherlands was largely covered with peat. Drainage, causing compaction and oxidation and excavation have reduced peatlands (>40 cm peat) to about 2,733 km2 (1,055 sq mi) [32] or 10% of the land area, mostly used as meadows. Drainage and excavation have lowered the surface of the peatlands. In the west of the country dikes and mills were built, creating polders so that dwelling and economic activities could continue below sea level. The first polder was in the 11th century, and the last in 1968. Harvesting of peat could continue in suitable locations as the lower peat layers below current sea level became exposed. They were deposited before the rise of the sea level in the Holocene. As a result approximate 26% of its area [33] and 21% of its population [34] of the Netherlands are presently below sea level. The deepest point is in the Zuidplaspolder, 6.76 m (22.2 ft) below average sea level.

The Netherlands compared to sealevel
The Netherlands compared to sealevel

United Kingdom

England

The extraction of peat from the Somerset Levels began during the Roman times and has been carried out since the Levels were first drained.[35] On Dartmoor, there were several commercial distillation plants formed and run by the British Patent Naphtha Company in 1844. These produced naphtha on a commercial scale from the high-quality local peat.[36]

Fenn's, Whixall and Bettisfield Mosses is an element of a post-Ice Age peat bog that straddles the England–Wales border and contains many rare plant and animal species due to the acidic environment created by the peat.[37] Only lightly hand-dug, it is now a national nature reserve and is being restored to its natural condition.

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, there is small-scale domestic turf cutting in rural areas, but areas of bogs have been diminished because of changes in agriculture. In response, afforestation has seen the establishment of tentative steps towards conservation such as Peatlands Park, County Armagh which is an Area of Special Scientific Interest.[38]

Scotland

Some Scotch whisky distilleries, such as those on Islay, use peat fires to dry malted barley. The drying process takes about 30 hours. This gives the whiskies a distinctive smoky flavour, often called "peatiness".[39] The peatiness, or degree of peat flavour, of a whisky, is calculated in ppm of phenol. Normal Highland whiskies have a peat level of up to 30 ppm, and the whiskies on Islay usually have up to 50 ppm. In rare types like the Octomore,[40] the whisky can have more than 100 ppm of phenol. Scotch Ales can also use peat roasted malt, imparting a similar smoked flavor.

Generic characteristics and uses

Agriculture

In Sweden, farmers use dried peat to absorb excrement from cattle that are wintered indoors. The most important property of peat is retaining moisture in container soil when it is dry while preventing the excess of water from killing roots when it is wet. Peat can store nutrients although it is not fertile itself – it is polyelectrolytic with a high ion-exchange capacity due to its oxidized lignin. Peat is discouraged as a soil amendment by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England, since 2003.[41] While bark-based peat-free potting soil mixes are on the rise, particularly in the U.K., peat remains an important raw material for horticulture in some other European countries, Canada, as well as parts of the United States. However, it is recommended to treat peat thermally, e.g., through soil steaming in order to kill pests and reactivate nutrients.

Freshwater aquaria

Peat is sometimes used in freshwater aquaria. It is seen most commonly in soft water or blackwater river systems such as those mimicking the Amazon River basin. In addition to being soft in texture and therefore suitable for demersal (bottom-dwelling) species such as Corydoras catfish, peat is reported to have a number of other beneficial functions in freshwater aquaria. It softens water by acting as an ion exchanger; it also contains substances that are beneficial for plants, and for the reproductive health of fishes. Peat can prevent algae growth and kill microorganisms. Peat often stains the water yellow or brown due to the leaching of tannins.[42]

Water filtration

Peat is used in water filtration, such as for the treatment of septic tank effluent and for urban runoff.

Balneotherapy

Peat is widely used in balneotherapy (the use of bathing to treat disease). Many traditional spa treatments include peat as part of peloids. Such health treatments have an enduring tradition in European countries including Poland, the Czech Republic, Germany, and Austria. Some of these old spas date back to the 18th century and are still active today. The most common types of peat application in balneotherapy are peat muds, poultices, and suspension baths.[43]

Peat archives

Authors Rydin and Jeglum in Biology of Habitats described the concept of peat archives, a phrase coined by influential peatland scientist Harry Godwin in 1981.[44][45][46]

In a peat profile there is a fossilized record of changes over time in the vegetation, pollen, spores, animals (from microscopic to the giant elk), and archaeological remains that have been deposited in place, as well as pollen, spores and particles brought in by wind and weather. These remains are collectively termed the peat archives.

— Rydin, 2013

In Quaternary Palaeoecology, first published in 1980, Birks and Birks described how paleoecological studies "of peat can be used to reveal what plant communities were present (locally and regionally), what time period each community occupied, how environmental conditions changed, and how the environment affected the ecosystem in that time and place."[45][47]

Scientists continue to compare modern mercury (Hg) accumulation rates in bogs with historical natural-archives records in peat bogs and lake sediments to estimate the potential human impacts on the biogeochemical cycle of mercury, for example.[48] Over the years, different dating models and technologies for measuring date sediments and peat profiles accumulated over the last 100–150 years, have been used, including the widely used vertical distribution of 210Pb, the inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-SMS),[49] and more recently the initial penetration (IP).[50]

Peat haggs at start of Allt Lagan a' Bhainne tributary on Eilrig - geograph.org.uk - 1420692
Peat hags at the start of Allt Lagan a' Bhainne tributary on Eilrig

Peat hags

Peat "hags" are a form of erosion that occurs at the sides of gullies that cut into the peat or, sometimes, in isolation.[51] Hags may result when flowing water cuts downwards into the peat and when fire or overgrazing exposes the peat surface. Once the peat is exposed in these ways, it is prone to further erosion by wind, water, and livestock. The result is overhanging vegetation and peat. Hags are too steep and unstable for vegetation to establish itself, so they continue to erode unless restorative action is taken.[51]

Environmental and ecological issues

Co2.recent.ch
Increase, and change relative to previous year, of the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide.

The distinctive ecological conditions of peat wetlands provide a habitat for distinctive fauna and flora. For example, whooping cranes nest in North American peatlands, while Siberian cranes nest in the West Siberian peatland. Such habitats also have many species of wild orchids and carnivorous plants. It takes centuries for a peat bog to recover from disturbance. (For more on biological communities, see wetland, bog or fen.)

The world's largest peat bog is located in Western Siberia. It is the size of France and Germany combined. Recent studies show that it is thawing for the first time in 11,000 years. As the permafrost melts, it could release billions of tonnes of methane gas into the atmosphere. The world's peatlands are thought to contain 180 to 455 billion metric tonnes of sequestered carbon, and they release into the atmosphere 20 to 45 million metric tons of methane annually. The peatlands' contribution to long-term fluctuations in these atmospheric gases has been a matter of considerable debate.[52]

One of the characteristics for peat is the bioaccumulations of metals often concentrated in the peat. Accumulated mercury is of significant environmental concern.[53]

Peat drainage

Large areas of organic wetland (peat) soils are currently drained for agriculture, forestry, and peat extraction. This process is taking place all over the world. This not only destroys the habitat of many species but also heavily fuels climate change. As a result of peat drainage, the organic carbon – which built over thousands of years and is normally underwater – is suddenly exposed to the air. It decomposes and turns into carbon dioxide (CO
2
), which is released into the atmosphere.[54] The global CO
2
emissions from drained peatlands have increased from 1,058 Mton in 1990 to 1,298 Mton in 2008 (a 20% increase). This increase has particularly taken place in developing countries, of which Indonesia, China, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea are the fastest-growing top emitters. This estimate excludes emissions from peat fires (conservative estimates amount to at least 4,000 Mton/CO
2
-eq./yr for south-east Asia). With 174 Mton/CO
2
-eq./yr the EU is after Indonesia (500 Mton) and before Russia (161 Mton) the world's second-largest emitter of drainage-related peatland CO
2
(excl. extracted peat and fires). Total CO
2
emissions from the worldwide 500,000 km2 of degraded peatland may exceed 2.0 Gtons (including emissions from peat fires) which is almost 6% of all global carbon emissions.[55]

Peat fires

TOMS indonesia smog lrg
Smoke and ozone pollution from Indonesian fires, 1997

Peat has a high carbon content and can burn under low moisture conditions. Once ignited by the presence of a heat source (e.g., a wildfire penetrating the subsurface), it smoulders. These smouldering fires can burn undetected for very long periods of time (months, years, and even centuries) propagating in a creeping fashion through the underground peat layer.

Despite the damage that the burning of raw peat can cause, bogs are naturally subject to wildfires and depend on the wildfires to keep woody competition from lowering the water table and shading out many bog plants. Several families of plants including the carnivorous Sarracenia (trumpet pitcher), Dionaea (Venus flytrap), Utricularia (bladderworts) and non-carnivorous plants such as the sandhills lily, toothache grass and many species of orchid are now threatened and in some cases endangered from the combined forces of human drainage, negligence, and absence of fire.[56][57][58]

The recent burning of peat bogs in Indonesia, with their large and deep growths containing more than 50 billion tonnes of carbon, has contributed to increases in world carbon dioxide levels. Peat deposits in Southeast Asia could be destroyed by 2040.[59][60]

It is estimated that in 1997, peat and forest fires in Indonesia released between 0.81 and 2.57 Gt of carbon; equivalent to 13–40 percent of the amount released by global fossil fuel burning, and greater than the carbon uptake of the world's biosphere. These fires may be responsible for the acceleration in the increase in carbon dioxide levels since 1998.[61][62] More than 100 peat fires in Kalimantan and East Sumatra have continued to burn since 1997; each year, these peat fires ignite new forest fires above the ground.

In North America, peat fires can occur during severe droughts throughout their occurrence, from boreal forests in Canada to swamps and fens in the subtropical southern Florida Everglades.[63] Once a fire has burnt through the area, hollows in the peat are burnt out, and hummocks are desiccated but can contribute to Sphagnum recolonization.[64]

In the summer of 2010, an unusually high heat wave of up to 40 °C (104 °F) ignited large deposits of peat in Central Russia, burning thousands of houses and covering the capital of Moscow with a toxic smoke blanket. The situation remained critical until the end of August 2010.[65][66]

Wise use and protection

In June 2002, the United Nations Development Programme launched the Wetlands Ecosystem and Tropical Peat Swamp Forest Rehabilitation Project. This project was targeted to last for 5 years, and brings together the efforts of various non-government organisations.

In November 2002, the International Peatland (formerly Peat) Society (IPS) and the International Mire Conservation Group (IMCG) published guidelines on the "Wise Use of Mires and Peatlands – Backgrounds and Principles including a framework for decision-making". The aim of this publication is to develop mechanisms that can balance the conflicting demands on the global peatland heritage, to ensure its wise use to meet the needs of humankind.

In June 2008, the IPS published the book Peatlands and Climate Change, summarising the currently available knowledge on the topic. In 2010, IPS presented a "Strategy for Responsible Peatland Management", which can be applied worldwide for decision-making.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Supported by the "Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DGIS) under the [www.wetlands.org/projects/GPI/default.htm Global Peatland Initiative], managed by Wetlands International in co-operation with the IUCN – Netherlands Committee, Alterra, the International Mire Conservation Group and the International Peatland Society."

References

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  2. ^ a b c Hugron, Sandrine; Bussières, Julie; Rochefort, Line (2013). Tree plantations within the context of ecological restoration of peatlands: practical guide (PDF) (Report). Laval, Québec, Canada: Peatland Ecology Research Group (PERG). Retrieved 22 February 2014.
  3. ^ Walker, M.D. 2019. Sphagnum; the biology of a habitat manipulator. Sicklebrook publishing, Sheffield, U.K.
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  12. ^ http://www.un-documents.net/ocf-07.htm Today's primary sources of energy are mainly non-renewable: natural gas, oil, coal, peat, and conventional nuclear power. There are also renewable sources, including wood, plants, dung, falling water, geothermal sources, solar, tidal, wind, and wave energy, as well as human and animal muscle-power. Nuclear reactors that produce their own fuel ("breeders") and eventually fusion reactors are also in this category.
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External links

Amanda Peet

Amanda Peet (born January 11, 1972) is an American actress. After studying at Columbia University, Peet began her acting career with small parts on television, and made her film debut in Animal Room (1995). Her featured role in the comedy The Whole Nine Yards (2000) brought her a much wider recognition, and she has since appeared in a variety of films, including Something's Gotta Give (2003), Identity (2003), Syriana (2005), The X-Files: I Want to Believe (2008), 2012 (2009), and The Way, Way Back (2013), A Lot Like Love (2005).

On television, Peet has starred in Jack & Jill (1999–2001), Togetherness (2015–2016), and Brockmire (2016–present).

Andrus Peat

Andrus Jamerson Peat (born November 4, 1993) is an American football guard for the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Stanford. As a high school senior, he was considered the best college football recruit by Sporting News. He committed to Stanford on February 1, 2012.

Blanket bog

Blanket bog or blanket mire, also known as featherbed bog, is an area of peatland, forming where there is a climate of high rainfall and a low level of evapotranspiration, allowing peat to develop not only in wet hollows but over large expanses of undulating ground. The blanketing of the ground with a variable depth of peat gives the habitat type its name. Blanket bogs are found extensively throughout the northern hemisphere - well-studied examples are found in Ireland and Britain, but vast areas of the Russian and North American tundra also qualify as blanket bogs.

In the southern hemisphere they are less well-developed due to the relatively low latitudes of the main land areas, though similar environments are reported in Patagonia, the Falkland Islands and New Zealand. The blanket bogs known as 'featherbeds' on subantarctic Macquarie Island occur on raised marine terraces; they may be up to 5 m deep, tremble or quake when walked on and can be hazardous to cross. It is doubtful whether the extremely impoverished flora of Antarctica is sufficiently well developed to be considered as blanket bogs.

In some areas of Europe, the spread of blanket bogs is traced to deforestation by prehistoric cultures.

Bog

A bog or bogland is a wetland that accumulates peat, a deposit of dead plant material—often mosses, and in a majority of cases, sphagnum moss. It is one of the four main types of wetlands. Other names for bogs include mire, quagmire, and muskeg; alkaline mires are called fens. They are frequently covered in ericaceous shrubs rooted in the sphagnum moss and peat. The gradual accumulation of decayed plant material in a bog functions as a carbon sink.Bogs occur where the water at the ground surface is acidic and low in nutrients. In some cases, the water is derived entirely from precipitation, in which case they are termed ombrotrophic (cloud-fed). Water flowing out of bogs has a characteristic brown colour, which comes from dissolved peat tannins. In general, the low fertility and cool climate result in relatively slow plant growth, but decay is even slower owing to the saturated soil. Hence, peat accumulates. Large areas of the landscape can be covered many meters deep in peat.Bogs have distinctive assemblages of animal, fungal and plant species, and are of high importance for biodiversity, particularly in landscapes that are otherwise settled and farmed.

Bog body

A bog body is a human cadaver that has been naturally mummified in a peat bog. Such bodies, sometimes known as bog people, are both geographically and chronologically widespread, having been dated to between 8000 BCE and the Second World War. The unifying factor of the bog bodies is that they have been found in peat and are partially preserved; however, the actual levels of preservation vary widely from perfectly preserved to mere skeletons.Unlike most ancient human remains, bog bodies often retain their skin and internal organs due to the unusual conditions of the surrounding area. These conditions include highly acidic water, low temperature, and a lack of oxygen which combine to preserve but severely tan their skin. While the skin is well-preserved, the bones are generally not, due to the acid in the peat having dissolved the calcium phosphate of bone.

The oldest known bog body is the skeleton of Koelbjerg Man from Denmark, who has been dated to 8000 BCE, during the Mesolithic period. The oldest fleshed bog body is that of Cashel Man, who dates to 2000 BCE during the Bronze Age. The overwhelming majority of bog bodies – including examples such as Tollund Man, Grauballe Man and Lindow Man – date to the Iron Age and have been found in northwest European lands, particularly Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK and Ireland. Such Iron Age bog bodies typically illustrate a number of similarities, such as violent deaths and a lack of clothing, leading archaeologists to believe that they were killed and deposited in the bogs as a part of a widespread cultural tradition of human sacrifice or the execution of criminals. The newest bog bodies are those of soldiers killed in the Russian wetlands during the Second World War.The German scientist Alfred Dieck published a catalog of more than 1,850 bog bodies that he had counted between 1939 and 1986 but most were unverified by documents or archaeological finds; and a 2002 analysis of Dieck's work by German archaeologists concluded that much of his work was unreliable.

Coats Group

Coats Group plc is a British multi-national company. It is the world's largest manufacturer and distributor of sewing thread and supplies, and the second-largest manufacturer of zips and fasteners, after YKK. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.

Coir

Coir (), or coconut fibre, is a natural fibre extracted from the husk of coconut and used in products such as floor mats, doormats, brushes and mattresses. Coir is the fibrous material found between the hard, internal shell and the outer coat of a coconut. Other uses of brown coir (made from ripe coconut) are in upholstery padding, sacking and horticulture. White coir, harvested from unripe coconuts, is used for making finer brushes, string, rope and fishing nets. It has the advantage of not sinking, so can be used in long lengths on deep water without the added weight dragging down boats and buoys.

Farm with Stacks of Peat

Farm with Stacks of Peat is an oil painting created in 1883 by Vincent van Gogh.

Freshwater swamp forest

Freshwater swamp forests, or flooded forests, are forests which are inundated with freshwater, either permanently or seasonally. They normally occur along the lower reaches of rivers and around freshwater lakes. Freshwater swamp forests are found in a range of climate zones, from boreal through temperate and subtropical to tropical.

In the Amazon Basin of Brazil, a seasonally flooded forest is known as a várzea, a use that now is becoming more widespread for this type of forest in the Amazon (though generally spelled varzea when used in English). Igapó, another word used in Brazil for flooded Amazonian forests, is also sometimes used in English. Specifically, varzea refers to whitewater-inundated forest, and igapó to blackwater-inundated forest.

Peat swamp forests are swamp forests where waterlogged soils prevent woody debris from fully decomposing, which over time creates a thick layer of acidic peat.

KPMG

KPMG is a professional service company and one of the Big Four auditors, along with Deloitte, Ernst & Young (EY), and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

Seated in Amstelveen, the Netherlands, KPMG employs 207,050 people and has three lines of services: financial audit, tax, and advisory. Its tax and advisory services are further divided into various service groups.

The name "KPMG" stands for "Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler." It was chosen when KMG (Klynveld Main Goerdeler) merged with Peat Marwick in 1987.

Lindow Man

Lindow Man, also known as Lindow II and (in jest) as Pete Marsh, is the preserved bog body of a man discovered in a peat bog at Lindow Moss near Wilmslow in Cheshire, North West England. The human remains were found on 1 August 1984 by commercial peat-cutters. Lindow Man is not the only bog body to have been found in the moss; Lindow Woman was discovered the year before, and other body parts have also been recovered. The find, described as "one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of the 1980s", caused a media sensation. It helped invigorate study of British bog bodies, which had previously been neglected in comparison to those found in the rest of Europe.

At the time of death, Lindow Man was a healthy male in his mid-20s, and he may have been someone of high status, as his body shows little evidence of heavy or rough work. There has been debate over the reason for Lindow Man's death, because the nature of his demise was violent, perhaps ritualistic; after a last meal of charred bread, Lindow Man was strangled, hit on the head, and his throat cut. Dating the body has proven problematic, but it is thought that Lindow Man was deposited into Lindow Moss, face down, some time between 2 BC and 119 AD, in either the Iron Age or Romano-British period. The recovered body has been preserved by freeze-drying and is on permanent display at the British Museum, although it occasionally travels to other venues such as the Manchester Museum.

Mire

A mire (or quagmire) is a wetland type, dominated by living, peat-forming plants. Mires arise because of incomplete decomposition of organic matter, due to waterlogging and subsequent anoxia. Like coral reefs, mires are unusual landforms in that they derive mostly from biological rather than physical processes, and can take on characteristic shapes and surface patterning.

There are four types of mire: bog, fen, marsh and swamp. A bog is a mire that due to its location relative to the surrounding landscape obtains most of its water from rainfall (ombrotrophic), while a fen is located on a slope, flat, or depression and gets most of its water from soil- or groundwater (minerotrophic). Thus while a bog is always acidic and nutrient-poor, a fen may be slightly acidic, neutral, or alkaline, and either nutrient-poor or nutrient-rich. Although marshes are wetlands within which vegetation is rooted in mineral soil, some marshes form shallow peat deposits: these should be considered mires. Swamps are characterized by their forest canopy and, like fens, are typically of higher pH and nutrient availability than bogs. Some bogs and fens can support limited shrub or tree growth on hummocks.

For botanists and ecologists, the term peatland is a more general term for any terrain dominated by peat to a depth of at least 30 cm (12 in), even if it has been completely drained (i.e., a peatland can be dry, but a mire by definition must be actively forming peat).

Mires are a kind of "...living relic... [A] living skin on an ancient body" in which successive layers of regular plant growth and decay are preserved stratigraphically with a quality of preservation unknown in other wetland environments.

Peat swamp forest

Peat swamp forests are tropical moist forests where waterlogged soil prevents dead leaves and wood from fully decomposing. Over time, this creates a thick layer of acidic peat. Large areas of these forests are being logged at high rates.

Peat swamp forests are typically surrounded by lowland rain forests on better-drained soils, and by brackish or salt-water mangrove forests near the coast.

Tropical peatlands, which coexist with swamp forests within the tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests biome, store and accumulate vast amounts of carbon as soil organic matter - much more than natural forests contain. Their stability has important implications for climate change; they are among the largest near-surface reserves of terrestrial organic carbon. Peat swamp forests, which have ecological importance, are one of the most threatened, yet least studied and most poorly understood biotypes.

Since the 1970s, peat swamp forest deforestation and drainage have increased exponentially. In addition, El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) drought and large-scale fires are accelerating peatland devastation. This destruction enhances the decomposition of soil and organic matter, increasing the carbon release to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. This phenomenon suggests that tropical peatlands have already become a large carbon-dioxide source, but related data and information is limited.Tropical peat swamp forests are home to thousands of animals and plants, including many rare and critically endangered species such as the orangutan and Sumatran tiger, whose habitats are threatened by peatland deforestation.

Raised bog

Raised bogs, also called ombrotrophic bogs (ombrotrophe Moore), are acidic, wet habitats that are poor in mineral salts and are home to flora and fauna that can cope with such extreme conditions. Raised bogs, unlike fens are exclusively fed by precipitation (ombrotrophy) and from mineral salts introduced from the air. They thus represent a special type of bog, hydrologically, ecologically and in terms of their development history, in which the growth of peat mosses over centuries or millennia plays a decisive role. They also differ in character from blanket bogs which are much thinner and occur in wetter, cloudier climatic zones.Raised bogs are very threatened by peat cutting and pollution by mineral salts from the surrounding land (due to agriculture and industry). There are hardly any raised bogs today that are still living and growing. The last great raised bog regions are found in western Siberia and Canada.

Scotch whisky

Scotch whisky (Scottish Gaelic: uisge-beatha na h-Alba; often simply called Scotch) is malt whisky or grain whisky made in Scotland. Scotch whisky must be made in a manner specified by law.All Scotch whisky was originally made from malted barley. Commercial distilleries began introducing whisky made from wheat and rye in the late 18th century. Scotch whisky is divided into five distinct categories: single malt Scotch whisky, single grain Scotch whisky, blended malt Scotch whisky (formerly called "vatted malt" or "pure malt"), blended grain Scotch whisky, and blended Scotch whisky.All Scotch whisky must be aged in oak barrels for at least three years. Any age statement on a bottle of Scotch whisky, expressed in numerical form, must reflect the age of the youngest whisky used to produce that product. A whisky with an age statement is known as guaranteed-age whisky. A whisky without an age statement is known as a no age statement (NAS) whisky, the only guarantee being that all whisky contained in that bottle is at least three years old.

The first written mention of Scotch whisky is in the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, 1495. A friar named John Cor was the distiller at Lindores Abbey in Newburgh, Fife, where, in October 2017, malt whisky production restarted for the first time in 522 years.Many Scotch whisky drinkers refer to a unit for drinking as a dram.

Sphagnum

Sphagnum is a genus of approximately 380 accepted species of mosses, commonly known as "peat moss". Accumulations of Sphagnum can store water, since both living and dead plants can hold large quantities of water inside their cells; plants may hold 16–26 times as much water as their dry weight, depending on the species. The empty cells help retain water in drier conditions. Hence, as sphagnum moss grows, it can slowly spread into drier conditions, forming larger mires, both raised bogs and blanket bogs. Thus, Sphagnum can influence the composition of such habitats, with some describing Sphagnum as 'habitat manipulators'. These peat accumulations then provide habitat for a wide array of peatland plants, including sedges and ericaceous shrubs, as well as orchids and carnivorous plants. Sphagnum and the peat formed from it do not decay readily because of the phenolic compounds embedded in the moss's cell walls. In addition, bogs, like all wetlands, develop anaerobic soil conditions, which produces slower anaerobic decay rather than aerobic microbial action. Peat moss can also acidify its surroundings by taking up cations, such as calcium and magnesium, and releasing hydrogen ions. Under the right conditions, peat can accumulate to a depth of many meters. Different species of Sphagnum have different tolerance limits for flooding and pH, so any one peatland may have a number of different Sphagnum species.Individual peat moss plants consist of a main stem, with tightly arranged clusters of branch fascicles usually consisting of two or three spreading branches and two to four hanging branches. The top of the plant, or capitulum, has compact clusters of young branches. Along the stem are scattered leaves of various shapes, named stem leaves; the shape varies according to species. The leaves consist of two kinds of cells; small, green, living cells (chlorophyllose cells), and large, clear, structural, dead cells (hyaline cells). The latter have the large water-holding capacity.

Sweet Track

The Sweet Track is an ancient trackway, or causeway in the Somerset Levels, England, named after its finder, Ray Sweet. It was built in 3807 BC and is the second-oldest timber trackway discovered in the British Isles, dating to the Neolithic. It is now known that the Sweet Track was predominantly built over the course of an earlier structure, the Post Track.

The track extended across the now largely drained marsh between what was then an island at Westhay and a ridge of high ground at Shapwick, a distance close to 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) or around 1.2 miles. The track is one of a network that once crossed the Somerset Levels. Various artifacts and prehistoric finds, including a jadeitite ceremonial axe head, have been found in the peat bogs along its length.Construction was of crossed wooden poles, driven into the waterlogged soil to support a walkway that consisted mainly of planks of oak, laid end-to-end. The track was used for a period of only around ten years and was then abandoned, probably due to rising water levels. Following its discovery in 1970, most of the track has been left in its original location, with active conservation measures taken, including a water pumping and distribution system to maintain the wood in its damp condition. Some of the track is stored at the British Museum and at the Museum of Somerset in Taunton. A reconstruction has been made on which visitors can walk, on the same line as the original in Shapwick Heath National Nature Reserve.

Tar

Tar is a dark brown or black viscous liquid of hydrocarbons and free carbon, obtained from a wide variety of organic materials through destructive distillation. Tar can be produced from coal, wood, petroleum, or peat. Production and trade in pine-derived tar was a major contributor in the economies of Northern Europe and Colonial America. Its main use was in preserving wooden sailing vessels against rot. The largest user was the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom. Demand for tar declined with the advent of iron and steel ships.

Tar-like products can also be produced from other forms of organic matter, such as peat. Mineral products resembling tar can be produced from fossil hydrocarbons, such as petroleum. Coal tar is produced from coal as a byproduct of coke production.

Three-peat

In American sports, a three-peat is winning three consecutive championships. The term, a portmanteau of the words three and repeat, originated with the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association, during their unsuccessful campaign for a third consecutive championship during the 1988–89 season, having won the previous 2 NBA Finals. The Lakers, however, were swept by the Detroit Pistons in the 1989 NBA Finals. The term is a registered trademark owned by Pat Riley (https://www.threepeat.com), the Lakers' head coach from 1981–1990, although it was coined by L.A. player Byron Scott immediately after their successful championship defense against the Pistons in the 1988 NBA Finals.

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