Land use on organic soils in Sweden

Data from the Geological Survey of Sweden (SGU), the Swedish Board of Agriculture and the Swedish National Forest Inventory were used in a GIS analysis to evaluate the distribution of organic soils (OS) used for agriculture and forestry in Sweden. The status of agricultural soils and agricultural land use changes were also studied, based on the most recent data available from the SGU.

The total surface area of OS in Sweden was estimated to be 6 207 284 ha (15.2% of the land surface area), which is less than reported in previous assessments. Of the total OS area, 91.0% was peat, 4.7% shallow peat and 1.8% gyttja soil.

Total agricultural area under EU regulations (i.e. on the EU agriculture block map) in Sweden was 3 232 039 ha (7.9% of the land surface area) and most of this was arable land (82.8%). Pasture occupied approx. 16% of the area, the land use on the remaining 1.2% is unknown. Agricultural area on OS (AOS) based on SGU-data and the EU agriculture block map was estimated to be 225 722 ha which is 7% of the total agricultural area based on EU agriculture block maps and 9.0% based on the national maps over agricultural land areas provided by the Swedish Board of Agriculture.

More than 50% of AOS was arable land whereas 20% was pasture.

In comparison to previously studies in 2003 and 2008, both the total agricultural area and AOS area have decreased, probably due to structural changes in agriculture. The decline has been sharper for the surface area of AOS than for the total agricultural area.

NV DiVA SMED Report Nr 199 2015