Global initiative on peatlands and climate change mitigation
Peatlands store vast amounts of carbon and are therefore critical ecosystems for climate regulation. However, when drained and degraded, peat soils release enormous amounts of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.
In order to address the rapid destruction of this key ecosystem, Wetlands International and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) have launched the global “Organic soils and peatlands climate change mitigation initiative” in May 2012. The Initiative is an informal network of organisations and people committed to reducing emissions from peatlands and safeguarding the other vital ecosystem services peatlands provide.
Mitigating emissions from degraded peatlands is a global task. Peat soils cover only a small amount of the land’s surface, but peatland degradation is a key source of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Moreover, there is a need to ensure that peatlands and their specific emission behaviour are properly addressed at international policy level.
A global initiative for a global problem
The “Organic soils and peatlands climate change mitigation initiative” launched by Wetlands International and the FAO seeks to bring together a wide range of individuals and organisations possessing specific expertise and capacity to address the issue of GHG emissions from peatlands. This informal expert network can assist in producing the evidence and the political case for enhanced conservation, rehabilitation and sustainable use of peatlands.
A first output of the Initiative has been the publication Peatlands – guidance for climate change mitigation by conservation, rehabilitation and sustainable use, which includes a decision support tree to assist decision-makers in choosing the most appropriate management options for their peatlands. The options are supported by a variety of case studies from around the world and by an in-depth analysis of financing options.