For Peats Sake: Peatlands Unveiled

Peatlands are Earth’s carbon vaults


Dive deep into the world of peat, a fascinating substance formed through centuries of organic decay in anaerobic, waterlogged environments. Explore its widespread presence across diverse climates, from tropical rainforests to permafrost regions. Delve into its pivotal role in carbon storage, housing over 30% of the Earth’s soil carbon and significantly impacting global climate dynamics. Learn about the pressing threats facing peatlands, including deforestation, drainage, and wildfires, and the far-reaching consequences for biodiversity, carbon emissions, and human livelihoods. Discover the concerted international efforts underway to protect and restore peatlands, from the Global Peatlands Initiative to national restoration programs. Join us on a journey to unveil the importance, challenges, and promising solutions surrounding these invaluable ecosystems.


Key Messages


  • Peat Formation: Peat, composed of decomposed vegetation, develops over centuries in anaerobic, waterlogged conditions, existing across various climates worldwide.
  • Historical Significance: Peat has existed on Earth for approximately 360 million years, showcasing its enduring presence and importance in global ecosystems.
  • Global Distribution: Found in diverse environments from tropical rainforests to permafrost regions, peatlands play a crucial role in different ecosystems across the globe.
  • Carbon Storage: Despite covering only 3-5% of the Earth’s surface, peatlands store over 30% of the world’s soil carbon, significantly impacting the planet’s climate dynamics.
  • Threats to Peatlands: Peatlands face threats like drainage, deforestation, and fires, contributing to carbon emissions and biodiversity loss, posing risks to global climate stability.
  • Importance for Biodiversity and Livelihoods: Peatlands are vital for biodiversity, hosting endangered species like orangutans and providing essential resources for human livelihoods.
  • Mitigation Efforts: International initiatives like the Global Peatlands Initiative and national restoration programs aim to protect and restore peatlands, essential for achieving environmental goals like the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals.


Language: English

Year: 2020

Ecosystem(s): Wetlands and Peatlands

Location(s): Global

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