Protect and restore threatened peatlands, one of the most ecologically diverse and carbon-rich ecosystems on the planet.
Although peatlands comprise only 3 percent of the earth’s land, they make up half of the world’s wetlands and store twice as much carbon as forests. Peatlands occur on every continent, including Antarctica, and people have gathered food, timber, and medicine from them for centuries. They provide essential flood protection and water filtration services for communities. However, they are under severe pressure from industrial activities and the effects of climate change. Many peatlands have been drained for agriculture and development, and others are drying out due to prolonged drought and rising temperatures, causing out-of-control fires. They could release large amounts of greenhouse gases as they further deteriorate and burn, changing from a carbon sink to a carbon source. Peatlands need to be protected, restored, and sustainably managed on a high-priority basis, especially in the tropics.