The characteristics

Peat soil has specific characteristics different from mineral soils in general. These characteristics can be viewed from the physical, chemical and biological properties of the soil.



Mineral soil

Formed out of organic material

Peatlands is developed from the accumulation of organic material which did not decompose perfectly

High porosity

Peatlands is highly porous, between 70%-90%


Peatlands is acidic with a pH of < 4

Low in nutrients

Peatlands is low in macro (P, K, Ca, and Mg) and micro (Cu, Zn, Mn, and Fe) nutrients

Low water absorption

High water absorption

Peatlands has the ability to absorb and direct water from 100% to 1,300% from its dry mass

High carbon storage

Peatlands has the ability to store carbon around 18%-60% from its dry mass

Formed out of rocks

Mineral soil is developed from rocks which had undergone physical and chemical decomposition

Low porosity

Mineral soil is not as porous as peat, between 48%-70%


Mineral soil is neutral with a pH of 7

Rich in macro and micro nutrients

Mineral soil has more macro and micro nutrients

Low water absorption

Low water absorption

Mineral soil only has the ability to absorb and direct water from 20% to 35% from its dry mass

Low carbon storage

Mineral soil only has the ability to store carbon around 0.5%-5% from its dry mass

Peatlands are formed from organic materials such as organic waste from tree branches, tree roots, and logs that do not fully decompose so that they accumulate and form layers of peat.

Peatlands are highly unique as they have a very high level of water absorption. Peat has the ability to absorb and distribute water at 100% to 1300% of its dry weight, when mineral soils are only able to absorb 20% - 30%. This is due to the fact that the pores of the peat soil are very large, and water can be absorbed easily. 

In addition, the partial decomposition process as a result of anaerobic (no oxygen) conditions causes peat to store very high levels of carbon. Peatlands have a much higher capacity to store carbon (18-60% of its weight) than mineral soils (0.5-5% of weight).

However, because acidity level in peatlands is very high (pH<4), macro and micro nutrients (P, K, Ca, Mg, Cu, Zn, Mn, and Fe) are low. As a result, the fertility level of peatlands is lower compared to mineral soils. Only certain types of plants can grow on peatlands. 

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