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Peatlands carbon cycle

Peat is formed when organic matter accumulates faster than it decomposes due to the lack of oxygen in waterlogged conditions. Peatlands are the most carbon dense of any terrestrial ecosystem in the world (Joosten & Couwenberg, 2008; Urák et al., 2017). Ecosystems sequester and store carbon in different ways, such as in living biomass, litter or humus in upper layers of mineral soils. Most of these carbon pools are not permanent and carbon will be released back to atmosphere over relatively short cycles. Beside these pools, however, the peat layer of peatlands provides – if not disturbed – a unique, permanent store for carbon. Keeping this carbon in the ground is crucial if the world is to meet the target of the Paris Climate Change Agreement to keep the global average temperature increase under two degrees Celsius.

Year: 2017

From collection: Smoke on Water (Revised)

Cartographer: Nieves Lopez Izquierdo

Tags: Assessment Peatlands Rapid Response RRA

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