WP1 Peat carbon stock estimation

Main objective: To measure carbon stocks in peatlands at representative development projects and assess how accurately peatland carbon stocks can be estimated at landscape scales with remotely sensed (especially radiometric) data.


We will study various peatland types across southern Norway at four study areas: three development project sites and one additional site (Skrimfjella in Vestfold-Telemark County). At each site we will estimate carbon stocks in peat soil using a peat volume approach (area * depth * carbon density). We will map peatland area, measure peatland depth by manual and geophysical methods (probing, ground-penetrating radar), and determine carbon density from soil samples. Intensive sampling in the field will allow us to estimate carbon stocks precisely. Where intensive sampling is not feasible, we will collect data from a stratified random sample and extrapolate peat depth and density across the site.

At two of the sites (Fetsund and Skrimfjella) we will build statistical models that predict peat occurrence (area) and depth at landscape scales. These models will consider topographic, radiometric, and optical predictors, and use field measurements for model training and spatially independent validation. We will examine the predictive accuracy of geostatistical and non-spatial statistical models as well as machine-learning algorithms. Occurrence and depth models will be compared to a national peatland database to assess the potential for improvement in Norway’s peatland inventory.

The WP involves academic partners and the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (SVV).

Research questions

  • How much carbon per unit area do various peatland types store, and how uncertain are these estimates?
  • How well can remotely sensed (especially radiometric) data predict landscape-scale peat area and depth?
  • Which dimension (area, depth, or carbon density) is the largest source of uncertainty in peatland carbon stocks at local and landscape scales?
bilde av Stein Bondevik

Stein Bondevik

Co-leader of WP1