A substantial part of the world’s peatlands is located in Peru (CIFOR, 2014), mainly in the Amazon basin as well as in the Andes. Peruvian peatlands have an “extremely important ecological, economic and social role” and are found in large wetland ecosystems which can also include swamps, lakes, rivers and floodplains (CIFOR, 2014). The Peruvian Andes are dotted with scattered peatlands called “bofedales” that form 3,000 metres above sea level (Maldonado Fonkén, 2010).
Several types have been identified in at least six regions of Peru (CIFOR, 2014). They are relatively small in size with an estimated overall area of 5,500 km2 or approximately 0.4 percent of Peru’s surface area (MINAM, 2012). Peat thickness measurements indicate that bofedales can be seven metres thick with a high organic carbon content (Maldonado Fonkén, 2014).
Despite heavy use, the vegetation of bofedales has adapted. Pristine peatland areas remain, and their biodiversity value is high and home to threatened species like the Junin Grebe (Podiceps taczanowskii). They also provide a habitat within which wild animals find water, shelter, food and nesting sites (Maldonado Fonkén, 2010). Focus on Peru – The importance of peatlands for people in the Amazon However, Peruvian peatlands have been degraded through intensification of traditional management systems. In recent years, several national and international efforts to assess peatlands have increased the knowledge about their extent, thickness and importance for the livelihoods of Peruvians. This, it is hoped, will improve the sustainability of land use planning and permitting, as well as peatland management as a whole.
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From collection: Smoke on Water (delete this)
Nieves Lopez Izquierdo