Large Amazon swamp carbon stores have been threatened, the study said

Amazon’s large carbon swamp stores are under threat, the research said

Father in the lowlands of Peruvian Amazon. Found: Ian T. Lawson, University of St Andrews

The largest peatlands in the Amazon rainforest, which contain high levels of carbon, are facing an increasing threat from land use changes, the study said.

CO2 release

Rapid measures are needed to prevent the release of carbon dioxide from decaying swamps in the low -lying Peruvian Amazon (LPA), which is much larger than previously thought.

Scientists have seen small but growing areas of deforestation in the center of the LPA, with an increase of 11 percent of CO.2 mining -related releases, between 2000 and 2016.

Peat density

The research, published at Nature Geoscience and led by the Universities of Edinburgh and St. Andrews used field, satellite and cover data to compare global warming emissions, developed maps and made preliminary models of peat thickness used in the data. the tropical countries of Peru.

The field teams with scientists from Peru’s Insituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonía Peruana, the University of Leeds and other working groups mapped the new locations of peat ditches and considered the supply of peat in Peruvian Amazonia for the first time.

Precious value

It is located at 62,714 km2—A place as large as Sri Lanka – twice as much carbon in peat lands as previously thought.

The peat in the LPA stores is about 5.4 billion tons of carbon, almost the same as all of Peru’s forests but in only five percent of its territory, indicating the value of these peat fields. , say experts.

Under threat

Tropical peat lands are one of the world’s most important peat ecosystems, but increased agriculture, industrial development and mining have led to the loss of large tracts of land.

Deforestation and water loss are hindering the accumulation of important nutrients in the shelter and promoting the rapid decomposition of peat, which in turn releases moisture. amount of carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide in the air.

The fire can also melt the peat soil, which can lead to a lot of growth and faster release.


To address these threats, Peru passed legislation, for the first time, mandating the safe protection of its peat fields in order to reduce climate change.

The implementation of this law will depend on the continuation of the map of the grant of peat land and the re -examination of its carbon footprint.

“We know that Peru has a lot of peat lands but we have global data from some countries, and we don’t know how many peat lands. According to the Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris Agreement, e prevent further degradation and CO2 emissions, ”said Dr. Adam Hastie of the School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh.

“The Peatlands are widely recognized as a hotspot for carbon dioxide and an important part of the world’s carbon dioxide. so that we can prevent them and help reduce climate change.forests, make this first map of peat lands covering the entire Amazonian land of Peru. “The next step is to use the same methods in other parts of the Amazon Basin. There’s a lot to learn,” said Drs. Ian Lawson, global program director at the University of St. Louis. Andrews.

Co -founder Dr. Dennis del Castillo Torres, from the Institute of Investigation of the Peruvian Amazon, said, “Our peat fields in Peru are able to mitigate climate change because the sustainable use of peat fields can be encouraged. the largest peatland palm species, Mauritia flexuosa. “

“Caring for peat lands also supports biodiversity and protects a situation like South-East Asia where 80 percent of peat lands have been cleared and drained,” said Drs. Euridice Honorio Coronado, author and NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellow of the University of St. Louis. Andrews.

Permafrost peat fields near the peak

More information:
Adam Hastie et al, Challenges to carbon conservation from climate change illustrated by peat -thick maps of Peru, Nature Geoscience (2022). DOI: 10.1038 / s41561-022-00923-4

Presented by the University of Edinburgh

Directions: Amazon’s large swamp carbon stores threatened, says research (2022, April 14) retrieved April 14, 2022 from -threat.html

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