Despite storing close to 30 percent of the world’s soil carbon and providing a plenitude of health benefits to both people and biodiversity (including flood mitigation, habitat provision and nutrient recycling), peatlands remain overlooked and underfunded by restoration initiatives worldwide. Current estimates indicate that 15 percent of the world’s peatlands have now been drained, and that these ecosystems, although occupying only 0.4 percent of the total global land surface, are responsible for roughly 5.6 percent of global anthropogenic CO2 emissions.
Drawing on case studies from the Peruvian Amazon, Indonesia and the Congo Basin, this paper makes clear the critical role that peatlands play in maintaining the health of our planet, bringing to light the multitude of ecosystem services that they provide, while flagging key priority areas for policymakers going forwards.
This White Paper is supported by UNEP and Global Peatlands Initiative.
Watch the corresponding session that took place at the GLF Biodiversity Digital Conference: One World – One Health here: Tackling the risks of wildlife-borne disease pandemics – policy and investment priorities