Occurrence

Globally, peatlands occupy about 4 million km2, with the boreal and subarctic peatland area estimated to be approximately 3 460 000 km2, or about 87% of the world's peatlands. Six countries have greater than 50 000 km2 of peatland and these account for 93% of the world's peatlands - five of these countries are predominantly boreal. Russia contains 1.42 million km2, Canada 1.235 million km2, the US 625 000 km2, Finland 96 000 km2, and Sweden 70 000 km2; Indonesia has an estimated 270 000 km2 as well. Although peat-forming plant communities occur in most of the world's nine zonobiomes, they are most prevalent in zonobiome VIII (cold temperate), or more commonly termed the boreal forest or taiga (Figure 1). The world's largest peatland complex is located in western Siberia (especially noteworthy is the Great Vasyugan

Mire located between the Ob and Irtysh Rivers at about 58° N and 75° W). Two other large peatland complexes are the Hudson Bay Lowland in eastern Canada and the Mackenzie River Basin in northwestern Canada. Although peatlands have long been associated with cool, oceanic climatic regimes such as those in Britain and Ireland and indeed peatlands are common in these areas (in fact peatlands are most abundant in areas where the regional climate is continental with short cool summers and long cold winters), the vegetation is coniferous and evergreen, and the upland soils are podzolic.

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