Using Ground Penetrating Radar to Map Peat Condition at a Landscape Scale

Lauren Parry, Joseph Holden, Pippa Chapman, Jared West, John Dinsdale, Richard Roberts

Proceedings of the 14th International Peat Congress


bulk-density, carbon-inventory, ground-penetrating-radar, humification, surveying

Parry et al 2012: Using Ground Penetrating Radar to Map Peat Condition at a Landscape Scale


Theme I.  Inventory, stratigraphy and conservation of mires and peatlands


Physical properties, such as depth, bulk density and humification are closely linked to many of the ecosystem services provided by peatlands. Beneath the surface these properties can be highly spatially variable. This variation can be difficult to map using traditional manual measurements, often leading to unreliable estimates of ecosystem services such as carbon storage.

Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) is a geophysical technique which can map the peatland subsurface (Holden et al, 2002; Sass et al, 2010 and Comas et al, 2005a). This project investigates how GPR can be used to map properties such as bulk density, humification and depth at landscape scales. The GPR is towed using a low ground pressure tracked vehicle, allowing for surveys to be carried out in otherwise inaccessible areas. Ultimately these data will be used to generate carbon inventories and maps of peatland condition which can be used to inform peatland wind farm developments and restoration projects.