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Peat bogs & Climate Change

Peat bogs & Climate Change 12 January 2021

Peat bogs: restoring them could slow climate change – and revive a forgotten world

By Ian D. Rotherham (via The Conversation)

Bogs, mires, fens and marshes – just their names seem to conjure myth and mystery. Though today, our interest in these waterlogged landscapes tends to be more prosaic. Because of a lack of oxygen, they can build up vast quantities of organic matter that doesn’t decompose properly. This is known as peat. Peatlands could contain as much as 644 gigatons of carbon – one–fifth of all the carbon stored in soil on Earth. Not bad for a habitat that stakes a claim to just 3% of the planet’s land surface.

Peatlands were once widespread throughout the UK, but many have been dug up, drained, burned, built on and converted to cropland, so their place in history has been forgotten. But while most of the debate around using natural habitats to draw down carbon from the atmosphere concerns planting trees and reforestation, some ecologists argue that a far better solution lies in restoring the peatlands that people have spent centuries draining and destroying.

With the government now proposing to do this across the UK, it’s worth unearthing the hidden heritage of these landscapes, and how they once fueled daily life.

Read full story here