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Peatland Glossary

Peatland Glossary

The Peat Hub Ireland Peatland Glossary comprises over 120 terms listed alphabetically relating to the sustainable management of peatlands in Ireland. The glossary is a living text which aims to provide access to up-to-date information, build shared understanding and communicate new scientific knowledge and discovery about peatlands. Definitions were collated from a variety of national, European and international sources, as well as submissions from a survey of Irish peatland researchers carried out in 2023.

Knowledge and understanding of peatlands is ever-evolving and peatland research spans a variety of disciplines, sectors and types of knowledge, including ecology, hydrology, soil, atmosphere, archaeology, policy, law, economics, environmental justice, heritage, history, agriculture, and local knowledge. Each academic discipline and stakeholder group employs specific technical and scientific language and some terms may not be defined or used consistently across sectors and academic disciplines. Terminology and definitions relating to peatlands are an ongoing area of scientific discussion and debate so if you would like to propose changes or make a contribution to the Peatland Glossary, please do so using the form below.

(opens in a new window)Contribute by filling out our Peatland Glossary Google Form

Peatland Term Definition

Source of definition


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The living, actively growing upper layer of a bog, the surface of which is composed mainly of living bog mosses. The presence of the acrotelm is vital to a raised bog as this is the peat-forming and water-storing layer of the bog.

DCHG, 2017

Active or peat forming

According to the Interpretation Manual of the Habitats Directive, the term Active is taken to mean still supporting a significant area of vegetation that is normally peat forming.

DAHG, 2015

Active peatland

Peatland on which peat is currently forming and accumulating. All active peatlands (mires) are peatlands but peatlands that are no longer accumulating peat would no longer be considered mires. 

Pschenyckyj et al, 2021


Entities with agency, i.e. the ability to choose or decide; they include people, communities, firms, other organizations, and states, but also some nonhuman organisms and their assemblages.

Harley and Clark, 2023


Conversion to forest of land that historically has not contained forests.

IPCC, 2023

Agricultural peat soils

Areas of peatland used for agriculture such as livestock or crop production.

PHI Researcher Survey

Air quality

Air quality is a measure of how polluted the air is. A range of air pollutants is emitted when peat is used as a fuel for electricity generation or for home heating, including fine particulate matter which can penetrate deep into the lungs and airways with direct impacts on human health.

DAHG, 2015


A pungent colorless gaseous alkaline compound of nitrogen and hydrogen that is very soluble in water and can easily be condensed to a liquid by cold and pressure.

Merriam Webster, 2024


The absence of oxygen.

DCHG, 2017


Resulting from or produced by human activities.

IPCC, 2023

Appropriate Assessment

A multi-staged process for ascertaining whether a plan or project, alone or in combination with other plans or projects, will adversely affect the integrity of the Natura 2000 Network of internationally important sites. Required under Article 6(3) of the Habitats Directive.

DCHG, 2017

Artificial Light At Night

The inappropriate or excessive use of artificial light at night. Manifesting as glare, skyglow, light trespass and light clutter.

PHI Researcher Survey

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Biocultural Diversity

Biocultural diversity refers to the continuing co-evolution and adaptation between biological and cultural diversities. It also involves diversities of place and reflects people's ways of living with nature. This co-evolution has generated local ecological knowledge and practices across generations that allow societies to manage their resources sustainably while also maintaining cultural identity and social structures.

Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, 2023


A general term used to describe all aspects of biological diversity including the number of species present in a given environment, the genetic diversity present within a species and the number of different ecosystems present within a given environment.

DCHG, 2017

Blanket Bog

Ombrotrophic peatland type forming an extensive landscape in cool regions of high rainfall or humidity and a low level of evapotranspiration, allowing the peat to accumulate not only in wet hollows but over large expanses of undulating ground.

PHI, 2024


Ombrotrophic peatland type with the surface above the surrounding terrain or otherwise isolated from laterally moving mineral-rich soil waters.

Hydin and Jeglum, 2006


Mosses, liverworts and hornworts. Bryophytes reproduce from spores held in capsules, rather than seeds formed by flowers. Peatlands are home to a diversity of bryophytes, and bryophytes are important in the ecological functioning of peatlands.

PHI Researcher Survey

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A non-metallic chemical element with atomic number 6 that readily forms compounds with many other elements and is a constituent of organic compounds in all known living tissues.

Merriam Webster, 2024

Carbon balance

The sum of the amount of carbon taken up the growing peatland (i.e. the growth of the plants and the accumulation of the peat) and the amount of carbon removed from the peatland (i.e. gaseous losses (CO2 and CH4 emissions), dissolved C losses and losses due to human activities, such as turf cutting, fire, etc.).

PHI Researcher Survey

Carbon dioxide

CO2 - A heavy colorless gas that does not support combustion, dissolves in water to form carbonic acid, is formed especially in animal respiration and in the decay or combustion of animal and vegetable matter, and is absorbed from the air by plants in photosynthesis.

Merriam-Webster, 2024

Carbon dioxide equivalents

The amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emission that would have an equivalent effect on a specified key measure of climate change, over a specified time horizon, as an emitted amount of another greenhouse gas (GHG) or a mixture of other GHGs. For a mix of GHGs, it is obtained by summing the CO2-equivalent emissions of each gas. There are various ways and time horizons to compute such equivalent emissions. CO2-equivalent emissions are commonly used to compare emissions of different GHGs but should not be taken to imply that these emissions have an equivalent effect across all key measures of climate change.

IPCC, 2023

Carbon Flux

The rate of flow of carbon, across a given area; the amount of this crossing a given area in a given time.

IPCC, 2019

Carbon Sequestration

The capture and long-term storage of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), for example, in peat bogs.

DCHG, 2017

Carbon Sink

Any process, activity or mechanism which removes a greenhouse gas (GHG), an aerosol, or a precursor of a GHG from the atmosphere. Notation in the final stages of reporting is the negative (-) sign.

IPCC, 2019

Carbon Source

Any process or activity which releases a greenhouse gas (GHG), an aerosol or a precursor of a GHG into the atmosphere. Notation in the final stages of reporting is the positive (+) sign.

IPCC, 2019


An area of land draining to a defined point. The term river catchment refers to the area of land that drains into a particular river system.

DCHG, 2017


Actively-growing bogs are wetlands which consist of two layers – a thin living surface layer of peat-forming vegetation (the acrotelm), generally between 10 cm and 40 cm deep, and the relatively inert, permanently-waterlogged peat store (the catotelm) which may be several metres deep.

Lindsay et al, 2014


There is no all-encompassing definition of community, but two main types of communities are described: interest communities and geographic communities both of which share social interactions and may have shared values or shared locations. Also described as multidimensional, cross-scale, social-political units or networks changing through time. The Earth Charter refers to the 'community of life' which includes both human and non-human communities.

Berkes, 2004; Earth Charter, 2000; PHI, 2024

Community-based conservation

Natural resources or biodiversity protection by, for, and with the local community. Includes a range of activities and practices, but THE central idea is coexistence of people and nature, rather than protectionism and segregation of people and nature.

Berkes, 2007


Compost is the product of a biological decomposition process under aerobic conditions, where during several weeks, organic residues are turned into a substrate constituent rich in humus and nutrients. The purpose of composting is to return organic green residues to the cycle of materials and to use compost in the  fields of agriculture and horticulture.

Growing Media Europe, 2020

Cultural ecosystem services

One of four key categories identified in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment along with provisioning, regulating and supporting services. Generally described as the benefits, both material and non-material, that people gain from being in environments such as peatlands. These interactions give rise to a variety of wellbeing benefits that can be valued in various ways.

Pschenyckyj et al, 2021

Cultural heritage

Cultural heritage includes artefacts, monuments, a group of buildings and sites, museums that have a diversity of values including symbolic, historic, artistic, aesthetic, ethnological or anthropological, scientific and social significance. It includes tangible heritage (movable, immobile and underwater), intangible cultural heritage (ICH) embedded into cultural, and natural heritage artefacts, sites or monuments. The definition excludes ICH related to other cultural domains such as festivals, celebration etc. It covers industrial heritage and cave paintings.

UNESCO, 1972; UNESCO, 2003

Cutaway peatland (industrial)

Where peat is being or has been extracted by industrial means. Peat extraction is the term used to refer to peat production, peat mining or peat extraction. (Peat production is the term widely used in Ireland within the industry and is defined as the overall management or the processes and methods used to produce peat for commercial operations.)

DAHG, 2015


Areas of bog that have been previously cut (by hand or by mechanical means), although not down to the marl layer or bedrock. Remaining peat may still be an economic reserve. Cutover areas are normally a mosaic of cut areas, face banks, pools, drainage ditches, uncut areas of peat, scrub, grassland etc.

DCHG, 2017

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An artificial structure that is barrier used to hold back water.

IPCC, 2019

Deep drained

Where the annual water table remains on average -30 cm or deeper below the ground level.

Renou-Wilson et al, 2022

Degraded peatlands

Changes to the peatland (hydrological, ecological and structural changes), caused by management or other external influences (climate change or deposition of acidifying pollutants). As a result, functioning and ecosystem services provided no longer resemble that of an intact peatland ecosystem. Disservices may instead take place, such as pollution of inland waters or release of greenhouse gas emissions. 

Pschenyckyj et al, 2021

Dissolved Organic Carbon (DOC)

Organic carbon remaining in solution after filtering the sample, typically using a 0.45 micrometer filter. When peat is degraded, DOC is leached into the water, which can impact water quality and have ecological impacts on ecosystem health, as well as result in costs for water treatment.

IPCC, 2019; Pschenyckyj et al, 2021


A discrete event, either natural or human induced, which causes a change in the existing condition of an ecological system.

DAHG, 2015

Dry deposition

Deposition of atmospheric pollutants through direct contact with plant surfaces.

PHI Researcher Survey

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Ebullitive emission

The flux of gas carried by bubbles from sediments through the water column to the atmosphere.

IPCC, 2019


The sub-discipline of scientific study shared by ecology and hydrology. Investigates the effects of hydrological processes on the distribution, structure, and function of ecosystems, and on the effects of biotic processes on elements of the water cycle.

DCHG, 2017

Ecological art

A variety of artistic practices that work across disciplines and communities to inspire caring and respect, stimulate dialogue, and encourage the long-term flourishing of the social and natural environments in which we live. Focuses attention on the physical, biological, cultural, political, and historical aspects of ecological systems and can involve restoration or remediation of natural environments.

EcoArt Network, 2020

Ecological light pollution

The impact of artificial light on organisms and ecosystems.

PHI Researcher Survey


The study of the interactions between organisms, and their physical, chemical and biological environment.

DCHG, 2017


A biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment.

DCHG, 2017

Ecosystem services

Fundamental life-support services upon which human civilisation depends. Examples of direct ecosystem services are pollination, provision of wood, and erosion prevention. Indirect services could be considered climate moderation, nutrient cycling, and detoxifying natural substances. The services and goods an ecosystem provides are often undervalued as many of them are without market value.

DAHG, 2015


The smallest ecologically distinct landscape features in a landscape.

DCHG, 2017

EIA Directive

Council Directive 85/337/EEC of 27 June 1985 on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment.

DCHG, 2017

Emission factor

A coefficient that quantifies the emissions or removals of a gas per unit activity. Emission factors are often based on a sample of measurement data, averaged to develop a representative rate of emission for a given activity level under a given set of operating conditions.

IPCC, 2019

Enhanced rehabilitation

A combination of engineering measures, ecology works, and natural recolonization aimed at rewetting degraded peatlands and returning them to species-diverse, active peatlands.

Pschenyckyj et al, 2021


Over-enrichment of minerals and nutrients in a body of water, leading to excess algae growth and depletion of dissolved oxygen.

Pschenyckyj et al, 2021

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Peatland that in addition to precipitation also receives water that has been in contact with mineral soil or bedrock.

DAHG, 2015


Land under trees with a minimum area of 0.1 ha and tree crown cover of more than 20% of the total area, or the potential to achieve this cover at maturity.

DAHG, 2015

Forestry on peat

Forests located on either shallow or deeper peat soils.

PHI Researcher Survey

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Geothermal resources

Naturally heated groundwater that could potentially be utilised for heating and/or power generation.

PHI Researcher Survey

Global Warming 

The increase in global surface temperature relative to a baseline reference period, averaging over a period sufficient to remove interannual variations (e.g., 20 or 30 years). A common choice for the baseline is 1850–1900 (the earliest period of reliable observations with sufficient geographic coverage), with more modern baselines used depending upon the application.

IPCC, 2023

Global Warming Potential

Global Warming Potentials (GWP) are calculated as the ratio of the radiative forcing of one kilogramme greenhouse gas emitted to the atmosphere to that from one kilogramme CO2 over a period of time (e.g., 100 years).

IPCC, 2019

Grassland on organic soils

Grassland located on either shallow or deeper peat soils.

PHI Researcher Survey

Greenhouse gas

Gaseous constituents of the atmosphere, both natural and anthropogenic, that absorb and emit radiation at specific wavelengths within the spectrum of radiation emitted by the Earth’s surface, by the atmosphere itself, and by clouds. This property causes the greenhouse effect. Water vapour (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), methane (CH4) and ozone (O3) are the primary GHGs in the Earth’s atmosphere. Human-made GHGs include sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and perfluorocarbons (PFCs); several of these are also O3-depleting (and are regulated under the Montreal Protocol).

IPCC, 2023

Growing media

Often also referred to as “substrate” or “potting soil”, a growing medium is a material, other than soil on the spot, in which plants are grown.

Growing Media Europe, 2020

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Habitat covered with low-growing vegetation dominated by bushes, shrubs, dwarf shrubs such as heather. Heathlands can have a peat soil and can be divided into dry heaths, wet heaths, montane heath.

Fossit, 2000

High bog

Area of a raised bog that forms/formed the dome.

DAHG, 2015

Historic Environment

A term used by the IUCN and other heritage bodies to refer to archaeological sites/deposits etc. that are preserved beneath, within and on the surface of peatlands. Contrary to the phrase, this includes sites/finds of all periods (including prehistory).

PHI Researcher Survey


Degree of decomposition of organic material within the peat. In ombrotrophic peatlands, this is a product of climatic influences, so where peat is growing rapidly it is poorly decomposed in comparison to slow-growing peat. It was traditionally recorded in a semi-quantitative way (von Post scale) but generally is now measured using a colorimeter (Blackford and Chambers).

PHI Researcher Survey

Hydraulic retention time

The average amount of time that a soluble compound remains in a water body.

Pschenyckyj et al, 2021


The movement of water through a catchment area including freshwater and seawater inputs, water level changes and drainage mechanisms, which are all influenced by the underlying geology.

DCHG, 2017

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Indigenous and local communities

The Convention on Biological Diversity does not define the term “indigenous and local communities”. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples does not adopt a universal definition for “indigenous peoples”, and a definition is not recommended.

UNEP, 1992

Industrial heritage

Sites, structures, complexes and landscapes and the related machinery, objects or documents that provide evidence of past or ongoing industrial processes of production, the extraction of raw materials, their transformation into goods, and the related energy and transport infrastructures. Industrial heritage reflects the profound connection between the cultural and natural environment.


In-situ measurements

As opposed to Earth Observation (EO)/remote sensing data, measurements that are captured on the ground in the field.

PHI Researcher Survey

Intangible Cultural Heritage

Intangible Cultural Heritage means the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills – as well as the instruments, objects, artefacts and cultural spaces associated therewith – that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage. It includes customs, sports, music, dance, folklore, crafts, skills, and traditions.

UNESCO, 2022

Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR)

SAR interferometry is a technique involving phase measurements from successive satellite SAR images to infer differential range and range changes to detect subtle changes on or of the earth's surface.

ESA, 2007

Intermediate Bog

Hybrid peatland sitting between blanket and raised bogs.

PHI Researcher Survey

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Just Transition

A set of principles, processes and practices that aim to ensure that no people, workers, places, sectors, countries or regions are left behind in the transition from a high-carbon to a low-carbon economy. It stresses the need for targeted and proactive measures from governments, agencies, and authorities to ensure that any negative social, environmental or economic impacts of economy wide transitions are minimized, whilst benefits are maximized for those disproportionately affected. Key principles of just transitions include: respect and dignity for vulnerable groups; fairness in energy access and use, social dialogue and democratic consultation with relevant stakeholders; the creation of decent jobs; social protection; and rights at work. Just transitions could include fairness in energy, land use and climate planning and decision-making processes; economic diversification based on low-carbon investments; realistic training/retraining programs that lead to decent work; gender specific policies that promote equitable outcomes; the fostering of international cooperation and coordinated multilateral actions; and the eradication of poverty. Lastly, just transitions may embody the redressing of past harms and perceived injustices.

IPCC, 2023

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A term used to describe the area of transition from bog to mineral soil around a raised bog.

DCHG, 2017


An area, as perceived by people, whose character is the result of the action and interaction of natural and/or human factors

ELC, 2000


A remote sensing technology that measures vertical surface elevation by illuminating a target with a laser and analysing the reflected light.

DCHG, 2017

Light pollution

The inappropriate or excessive use of artificial light at night. Manifesting as glare, skyglow, light trespass and light clutter.

PHI Researcher Survey

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CH4 - A powerful and short-lived greenhouse gas, with a lifetime of about a decade and Global Warming Potential about 80 times greater than that of carbon dioxide (CO2) during the 20 years after it is released into the atmosphere.

IPCC, 2021

Mineral deposits

A spatially restricted area containing concentrations of valuable minerals that may be amenable to economic extraction.

PHI Researcher Survey


Used to describe both vegetation communities and peats that derive nutrients from the geosphere.

Renou-Wilson et al, 2011


Internationally-recognised term for a peat-forming system. It is not generally possible, however, to determine whether or not a peatland is actually forming peat at the present time. Consequently, the EU Habitats Directive defines 'active' bog as a system that supports a significant area of vegetation, which is normally peat forming because the presence of such vegetation is readily determined.

Lindsay et al, 2014


Technological change and substitution that reduces resource inputs and emissions per unit of output. Although several social, economic and technological policies would produce an emission reduction, with respect to climate change, mitigation denotes the implementation of policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance carbon sinks.

DAHG, 2015

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Natural heritage

Natural features consisting of physical and biological formations, which are of outstanding universal value from the aesthetic or scientific point of view; geological and physiographical formations and areas which constitute the habitat of threatened species of animals and plants of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation; natural sites or areas of outstanding universal value for science, conservation or natural beauty.

UNESCO, 1972

Natural, intact, pristine peatland, near intact

The terms ‘virgin’, ‘pristine’ and ‘intact’ have been used in several studies in relation to sites that look unmodified, uncut (as visible to the eye) and where no obvious factor is currently degrading the peatland. These terms are best avoided for use of habitat description such as peatlands in an Irish context. Most Irish peatlands are ‘humanised’ landscapes that have evolved, indeed sometimes originated, in close association with land-use systems. It would be impossible to find an Irish peatland that has never been grazed or used in some way by humans (e.g. burning). The terms ‘near-intact’ and ‘natural’ peatlands are interchangeable and are used to refer to peatlands that are hydrologically and ecologically intact, i.e. in which the eco-hydrology, in the recent past, has not been visibly affected by human activity and therefore includes active or peat-forming areas or is in the process of regenerating such a habitat.

DAHG, 2015

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Only supplied with nutrients by the atmosphere and consequently often acidic and low in nutrients.

IPCC, 2014

Organic soil

Organic soil has a high concentration of organic matter. Soils are organic if they satisfy requirements 1 and 2, such as a land area under cultivation, or 1 and 3 such as a wetland area: 
1. The soil must have a depth of 10 cm or more. A horizon less than 20 cm deep must contain 12% or more organic carbon when mixed to a depth of 20 cm.
2. The soil is never saturated with water for more than a few days and must contain more than 20% (by weight) organic carbon (about 35% organic matter).
3. The soil must be subject to periods when it is saturated with water and have:
-at least 12% (by weight) organic carbon (about 20% organic matter) if it has no clay; or
-at least 18% (by weight) organic carbon (about 30% organic matter) if it has 60% or more clay; or
-an intermediate, proportional amount of organic carbon for intermediate amounts of clay.

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The study of the climate of past ages.

DCHG, 2017


Agriculture and forestry on wet (undrained, rewetted) organic soil.

IPCC, 2014

Particulate ammonium

Aerosols formed from chemical reactions of ammonia with other atmospheric pollutants e.g. reacting with NOx to form ammonium nitrate NH4NO3.

PHI Researcher Survey

Particulate organic carbon (POC)

Organic carbon particles between 0.45 and 1000 μm in size and suspended in the water column. POC includes partially decomposed organic material and is readily decomposable.

Pschenyckyj et al, 2021


Soft, porous or compressed, sedimentary deposit of plant origin with high water content in the natural state (up to about 90%). Countries may define peat according to their national circumstances.

IPCC, 2019

Peat dam

A peat dam is a form of restoration measure commonly used on raised bogs or blanket bogs. The dam is constructed from layers of peat typically extracted from a nearby location, placed into a drain and compacted to block the drain and raise the water level in the peat.

DCHG, 2017


Peatlands are wetland ecosystems where soils are dominated by peat. In peatlands, net primary production exceeds organic matter decomposition as a result of waterlogged conditions, which leads to the accumulation of peat.

IPCC, 2019

Peatland archaeology

Archaeology preserved within (intrapeat) or beneath (subpeat) peatlands due to the low-oxygen and acidic environment of the peat. Most often wooden structures, such as trackways and platforms, artefacts, and rarely, bog bodies.

PHI Researcher Survey

Peatland condition

The quality of the peatland ecosystem measured in terms of its abiotic and biotic characteristics and defined via key ecosystem attributes. It describes the physical, chemical and biological quality of an ecosystem at a particular point in time. Good ecosystem condition means that the ecosystem has self-reproduction or self-restoration capability, in which species composition, ecosystem structure and ecological functions are not impaired. Under Article 17 of the Habitats Directive, the condition of a protected or designated peatland is monitored using a rolling 6-year standard list of scientific parameters classifying the current habitat condition into favourable or unfavourable categories.

European Commission, 2022

Peatland extent

Extent of peat soils both shallow and deeper peat.

PHI Researcher Survey

Peatland management

Management of peatlands involving human activities relating to peatland utilisation and land use.

Pschenyckyj et al, 2021

Peatland utilisation

Peatland management creates specific anthropogenic uses of peatlands. Examples include peat extraction, forestry and agriculture.

Pschenyckyj et al, 2021

Plant community

In vegetation studies, a well-defined assemblage of plants and/or animals, clearly distinguishable from other such assemblages.

DAHG, 2015

Preservation in situ

The preferred management option for archaeological sites/deposits to ensure heritage assets survive for future generations. Note, preservation in situ for peatland environments brings a number of challenges and technical issues, but in theory is compatible with most rehabilitation methodologies assuming the presence/state of sites is known or established in advance.

PHI Researcher Survey

Priority habitat

A subset of the habitats listed in Annex I of the EU Habitats Directive. These are habitats which are in danger of disappearance and whose natural range mainly falls within the territory of the European Union. These habitats are of the highest conservation status and require measures to ensure that their favourable conservation status is maintained.

DCHG, 2017

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Radar backscatter intensity

One of the measurements made during Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR). It refers to the intensity of the radar signal that is returned to the satellite compared to the radar signal that was sent out by the satellite.

PHI Researcher Survey

Raised bog

A bog shaped like a dome or elevated above the surrounding land and which only receives moisture from the atmosphere.

DAHG, 2015

Regenerated peatland

Degraded peatland where spontaneous development has led to the regeneration of peat-forming conditions.

DAHG, 2015


Occurs where a site has previously been extracted (industrially) and involves allowing natural recolonization of vegetation in order to stabilise the bare peat surface and minimise pollution to air and water, as required by EPA Integrated Pollution Control (IPC) licencing and associated BATNEEC Guidance Note (1996).

Pschenyckyj et al, 2021

Remote sensing

Group of techniques for collecting image or other forms of data about an object from measurements made at a distance from the object and the processing and analysis of the data

ESA, 2007


The re-establishment, on formerly drained peatland sites, of some but not necessarily all the hydrological, biogeochemical and ecological processes and functions that characterized pre-drainage conditions.

IPCC, 2014


The deliberate action of changing a drained soil into a wet soil, e.g. by blocking drainage ditches, disabling pumping facilities or breaching obstructions. This can help achieve significant biodiversity benefits, a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental benefits, and contribute to a diverse agricultural landscape.

IPCC, 2014; European Commission, 2022

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Satellite remote sensing

An umbrella term for any remote sensing that takes place from a satellite platform. This includes Optical Remote Sensing and Radar based remote sensing.

PHI Researcher Survey

Shallow drained

Where the annual water table remains on average above -30 cm.

Renou-Wilson et al, 2022

Shallow peat soils

Where the annual water table remains on average 10 cm to 30 cm (drained) and to 45 cm (undrained) in the peat.

PHI Researcher Survey

Social values

The types of values held in social situations or processes, including the values of particular communities or the cultural values of society at large.

Pschenyckyj et al, 2021


Genus of bog moss adapted to acid, cool, waterlogged and extremely nutrient-poor conditions, and they create these hostile environments themselves.

Hydin and Jeglum, 2006


Individual or group having an interest in any decision or activity of an organization.

DAHG, 2015

Sustainable Peatland Management

Management of peatlands that preserves the interests of current and future generations, and enhances the biodiversity and ecosystem services on which continued human health and flourishing depends, balancing co-evolution of economic, social and environmental spheres.

PHI, 2024

Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR)

A coherent radar system that generates high-resolution remote sensing imagery.

ESA, 2007

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Tangible heritage

Archaeological sites, artefacts and palaeoenvironmental remains preserved in peatlands. In the context of peatlands, refers to physical assets such as archaeological sites/artefacts as well as other material of evidential value, such as pollen and plant remains preserved in peatlands.

PHI Researcher Survey

Testate amoebae

Shell-bearing protozoans that have been shown to respond to changing water tables in peatlands worldwide. These can be used to track changing climate and/or impacts on water table, both historic and as part of modern restoration efforts.

PHI Researcher Survey

Transitional mires and quaking bogs

Incompletely terrestrialized wetlands occupied by peat-forming vegetation with acid groundwater or (for vegetation rafts) acid underlying pool or lake water.

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An integrating concept of the good life, the constituents of which will vary among people and across time.

Harley and Clark, 2023

Wet Deposition

Deposition of atmospheric pollutants as part of rainfall.

PHI Researcher Survey

Wet Heath

Vegetation usually dominated by heather on either shallow peat (with a solid, continuous surface 0.15–0.5 m deep) or sandy mineral soil.

IRWC, 2018

Wetland Restoration

Aims to permanently re-establish the pre-disturbance wetland ecosystem, including the hydrological and biogeochemical processes typical of water saturated soils, as well as the vegetation cover that pre-dated the disturbance. Normally, the restoration of previously drained wetlands is accompanied by rewetting, while the restoration of undrained, but otherwise disturbed wetlands may not require rewetting.

PHI Researcher Survey


This category includes land that is covered or saturated by water for all or part of the year (e.g., peatland) and that does not fall into the forest land, cropland, grassland or settlement categories. The category can be subdivided into managed and unmanaged according to national definitions.

IPCC, 2014

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Citation (In text) Source Title Reference
Berkes, 2007 Community-based conservation in a globalized world.  Berkes, F., 2007. Community-based conservation in a globalized world. Proceedings of the National academy of sciences, 104(39), pp.15188-15193. Available at: (opens in a new window)https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0702098104
DAHG, 2015 National Peatland Strategy  Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, National Peatland Strategy, 2015. Available at: (opens in a new window)https://www.npws.ie/sites/default/files/publications/pdf/NationalPeatlandsStrategy2015EnglishVers.pdf
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