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Underground fires

It is estimated that 15 percent of global peatlands have been drained and used for agriculture, livestock and forestry. However, drained peatlands are highly prone to fires, which are particularly difficult to extinguish, and have a range of impacts. In dried peat soils, fires used to control vegetation can easily get out of hand and can penetrate the ground to depths near the water table where the fires can remain undetected. They can continue to smolder below ground, lasting several months even following days of rain and under snow cover, and spread over long distances (Abel et al., 2011; Betha et al., 2012; Davies et al., 2013; Marlier et al., 2015b). Largescale peatland fires following drainage have been reported in Western Europe, Russia and Southeast Asia (Boehm & Siegert, 2001; Parish et al., 2008; Joosten et al., 2012; Gaveau et al., 2014a, 2014b; Page & Hooijer, 2016).

Year: 2017

From collection: Smoke on Water (Revised)

Cartographer: Nieves Lopez Izquierdo

Tags: Assessment Peatlands Rapid Response RRA

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