The United Nations recently released a report on the peatland systems and the danger of carbon emission due to their degradation.
Peatland systems are formed when partially degraded plant material accumulate in water-logged conditions over thousands of years. Peatlands constitute 3% of the earth’s surface but store about 30% of the soil carbon in the world. It is one of the most effective carbon sinks in the world.
Peatland systems occur in different climate zones: from mangroves of tropical climate to moss dominated peatlands in Arctic regions. 40% of tropical peatlands are in Indonesia. The report noted that nearly a quarter of the peatlands in Central and South Asia, Europe, East Africa, Amazon and South America is already degraded.
Benefits of Peatlands
Some of the benefits of peatlands are:
- Climate mitigation: they are an important component of earth’s carbon sink system.
- Biodiversity preservation.
- Archaeologically important: they preserve seeds, pollen and even human remains due to their acidic conditions.
- Supports livelihood: in form of pastoralism.
- They bear fruits, berries and mushrooms of commercial importance.
- They have potential for fishing industry.
- Vegetation in peatlands contain fibres that can be used for construction activities and handicraft industries.
- Plaudiculture/ wet agriculture can be practiced in rewetted peatlands.
- Recreational grounds.