Total Carbon Storage

The total C storage (‚historical storage‘) per hectare peatland Corg was determined using the following equation:

Corg = Σ (MHi * Corg Hi)

MH describes the corresponding horizon thicknesses in dm, while Corg H is for the amount of carbon stored per ha and dm thickness for each soil horizon i

For the assessment of total C storage, no traffic light system was used for visualization, because peatlands generally have a high capacity for C storage. The boundaries between grades were determined by frequency analyses.

Total C Storage

Corg [t/ha]


≤ 900

high storage capacity

> 900 - ≤ 1.800

very high storage capacity

> 1.800

extremly high storage capacity

Additionally to the relative amount of C (C storage per hectare), the absolute amounts of C were calculated for all peatlands (see Peatlands > Overview), too. For this purpose, the relative values of C were multiplied by the sizes of the peatland areas or their partial areas.

Particularly in smaller peatlands or partial areas, only one profile sampling down to the mineral bedrock was carried out. A transfer of this peat thickness onto entire peatland areas would have been prone to errors or overestimates in the calculation of total C as the peat body tends to stretch out into the adjacent mineral soil. In order to account for smaller peat thicknesses (and with that their amounts of C) in the marginal areas, correction factors were determined, which would account for individual morphologies of the surface in correlation to the site or location within the landscape (see Möller et al. 2014). These correction factors were obtained by analysis of a range of peatland cross sections established from previously existing data (Timmermann 1999) and multiplied by the C values calculated using the stacking system. For C storage amounts of partial areas with cross sections that can be described by shapes like kettle holes or channels, such as e.g. in kettle-hole mires or terrestrialisation mires, a correction factor of 0.62 was found (e.g. in the peatland's of Bollenfenn or the Moor am Vollkopfgraben). The C storage amounts of peatland areas which are characterized by cross sections that are to a greater extent hemi-elliptical, are multiplied by a correction factor of 0.81 (for example, because they fill just half of a valley-shaped cross section, such as areas in the NSG Karower Teiche or Egelpfuhlwiesen). To calculate the C storage of partial areas, which peats are characterised by rectangular cross sections, a correction factor of 0.9 was used (for example, in the peatland Luch an der Margaretenhöhe).