The focus of this book is on temperate blanket peat and raised bogs, for which the British Isles are a world centre. Peatlands are much in the public eye these days owing to the important role of peat bogs in carbon storage and sequestration, and their impact on climate change.
Soft material such as peat cannot go on getting thicker forever but goes through millennial cycles of growth and erosion. The first three sections of the book look at the long-term dynamic of peat bogs, including why peat forms, how bogs expand in area, why pools form, and the different ways erosion can set in. They include new theories on peat instigation, pool development and erosion processes.
Part 4 relates these processes to land use and climate change, and will be of particular interest to those managing bogs or creating policies for land and carbon management. Appendix G indicates how a carbon calculator can be created to aid the assessment of a peatland’s carbon balance, and also for comparison of the carbon storage potential of peat bogs and woodlands.
The two-volume set also covers Antarctic moss peat, perhaps the simplest peat-forming system in the world, the study of which can aid the understanding of peat growth generally. The types of peat in the Falkland Islands are covered as well.
The 200 pages of this book contain several hundred photographs and diagrams to aid the understanding of peatland processes, some of which are not intuitive. It is targeted at both the specialist and non-specialist, and is essential reading for all those involved in peatland management and policy.
The Royal Scottish Geographical Society has subsidised the printing of this book, enabling the price to be kept below £20 and thereby making it more easily accessible.
Part 1. Instigation & Growth
Part 2. Development Of Pool Systems
Part 3. Peat Erosion
Part 4. Implications For Climate Change & Land Use
Appendix A. Capillary action and peat formation
Appendix B. Bulk density
Appendix C. Falkland Islands peat
Appendix D. Growth and erosion of moss peat
Appendix E. Complex peatland landscapes: a case study
Appendix F. Presence of trees on ombrotrophic peatland
Appendix G. Estimating carbon budgets: carbon calculator
"How I wish this book had been published decades ago when I studied peatland ecology as a final year degree module under the lively tuition of Alan Silverside. [...] phone call from another peatland expert, David Goode, urged me to read the book, commenting, "It's unusual, and extremely interesting." I agree. [...] If you are interested in peatlands read this book – you may disagree with some of the interpretations, but the key point is it will challenge and inform your understanding of the life and death of bogs."
– Des Thompson, The Niche 53(2), summer 2022
"The study of peatlands is critical for understanding changes in our climate as well as in our landscapes and ecosystems. Fenton's book presents an accessible introduction that will be of value to all with interests in peatlands."
– Professor Peter Convey, Senior Terrestrial Ecologist, British Antarctic Survey