Global Peatland Database

The Global Peatland Database (GPD) is a project of the International Mire Conservation Group (IMCG) located and maintained at the Greifswald Mire Centre. It provides an overview on the extent and drainage status of peatlands/organic soils for 268 countries and regions of the world. It mainly includes digital data, but also information from printed sources stored in the Peatland and Nature Conservation International Library (PeNCIL). A database of thousands of digital photos from peatlands all over the World is connected to the GPD.

Since 2012 this peatland/organic soil information is transferred into the spatially explicit ‘GIS-GPD’: in a vector geographic information system (GIS) scale 1:25,000 and a raster GIS 0.01 x 0.01 degree grid. The GIS-GPD is a continuously updated and refined peatland/organic soil database and can be filled with additional information such as peat depth, carbon content, vegetation or peatland type. Additionally, available GIS datasets from other peatland mapping and research are evaluated and integrated into the GPD. The database is intended to have global coverage by 2020. Recent data mining and soil mapping projects cover Europe, East and West Africa, NO-China, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Iran and Cuba.


Recent projects:

  • ‘High resolution GIS-based peatland mapping of East Africa’ (Netherland’s Environmental Assessment Agency)


Recent Master and Bachelor theses and student internships:

  • Peatland mapping in Iran
  • Evaluation of available data for peatland mapping in Papua New Guinea
  • Evaluation of available data for peatland mapping in Malawi
  • Peatland mapping in Cuba


Selected publications and example maps based on the GPD:

Elshehawi, S. et al. (2020) Assessment of Carbon (CO2) emissions avoidance potential from the Nile
Basin peatlands: Technical report. NBI Technical Reports: Wetlands and Biodiversity series

Elshehawi, S. et al. (2020) Options for financing emission avoidance from drained peatlands in the
Nile Basin: Discussion paper. NBI Technical Reports: Wetlands and Biodiversity series

Joosten, H. (2010): The Global peatland CO2 picture. Wetlands International, Ede. The Netherlands, 10 p. + Annexes.

Barthelmes, A., Couwenberg, J., Risager, M., Tegetmeyer, C. & Joosten, H. (2015): Peatlands and Climate in a Ramsar context - A Nordic-Baltic Perspective. Nordic Council of Ministers, Rosendahls-Schultz Grafisk. Copenhagen, Denmark, 81 p. + Annexes.


Mapping example: Map of organic soils of Rwanda (1 x 1 km grid) with status assessment (not degraded, low degraded, heavily degraded) (clock wise from top left).
Map of organic soils of Rwanda (1 x 1 km grid)

Ongoing and completed projects

Selected ongoing projects:

MoorDialog (Deutscher Moorschutzdialog)’ (BMUB)

‘Practical guidance to locate and delineate peatlands and other organic soils in the Tropics’ (part of ‘The HCS Approach Toolkit: No Deforestation in Practice’)

‘Keep it in the ground - the global threat from peatland loss and degradation’ (working titel), a Rapid Response Assessment of UN environment and GRID-Arendal (contribution from GPD in framework of the Global Peatlands Initiative)

‘Remote sensing based mapping of the Popondetta peatland, Papua New Guinea’

‘Developing a new global organic soil map (incl. peatlands) based on available data sets’

‘Developing a pantropical peatland map based on eco-zones with substantial peat occurrences’

‘Global evaluation of ‚blanket bogs - in light of the nomination of the Flow Country (Scotland) as World Heritage Site’

Selected completed projects:

Contact & Citation

Dr. Alexandra Barthelmes
Greifswald Mire Centre (GMC)

c/o Greifswald University
Soldmannstr. 23
17487 Greifswald


If not specified otherwise please cite our products as follows:
Based on data from the Global Peatland Database / Greifswald Mire Centre (year)