Mapping land use on Irish peatlands using medium resolution satellite imagery


  • John Connolly Dublin City University



The EU is committed to quantifying greenhouse gas emissions and removals from land use, land use change and forestry, including wetlands. Wetlands and peatlands will play a central role in achieving temperature goals agreed in the Paris Agreement. Throughout Europe and particularly in Ireland, peatlands have been under severe strain for decades. Irish peatlands cover about 20.6% of the land and up to 85% are degraded. Medium resolution satellite data were analysed using a combination of object-based image assessment and peatland maps to produce land use maps for the 2005 to 2006 period. Four peatland land use types were detected: grassland, forestry, industrial peat production, and residual peat. Persistent cloud was an issue along the western seaboard and peatlands in these areas were excluded from the analysis. Despite this issue, the results show that 66% of peatlands have undergone land use change: 35% to grassland; 27% to forestry; and 4% to industrial. The overall map accuracy was 77%. The results could be used to aid the development of baseline data on peatland land use in Ireland for the 2005-2009 base period as required by the 2030 Climate and Energy Framework. The methodology may be used to quantify land use and land use change on peatlands across the EU.

Author Biography

John Connolly, Dublin City University

School of History and Geography




How to Cite

Connolly, J. (2019). Mapping land use on Irish peatlands using medium resolution satellite imagery. Irish Geography, 51(2), 187–204.