The Beautiful Peatlands

Peatlands are very wet and decomposition is slow compared to other ecosystems like forests or grasslands, which are drier. As a result, more dead plants accumulate, which means less carbon is released to the atmosphere from peatlands than from many other ecosystem types.

In other words, more carbon enters and is held within peatland soils than is released back to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that traps heat in the Earth’s atmosphere, therefore, peatlands can help slow or reverse climate warming. Did you know peatlands could help reverse climate change by stocking more carbon in their soil? It's true!

What challenges do people face living in this environment?:

Since peatlands store carbon in their soils (called peat), they are a rich source of energy. They are used for heating and electrical energy when burnt. As a result, peatlands need to be drained before burnt. When peat is burnt, all the greenhouse gases that were trapped are released back to the atmosphere and this does not help the planet because it makes climate change stronger.

Climate change is warming up the world, negatively affecting ecosystems. For peatlands, this is even worse. Some studies have shown that the warming of peatlands favor plants other than moss that get replaced. Among those “new” plants that inhabit peatlands and facing warming are called sedge (grass-like plants) and shrubs. This substitution of plants makes peatlands store less carbon, and worse, release old carbon that has been stored.

How have people been adapting to this environment?:

This ecosystem should always be conserved, not burnt.