May 21, 2012   •   News

International initiative on peat and climate change mitigation

Peatlands store tremendous amounts of carbon. However, when they are drained and used – mainly for agriculture, grazing and forestry – peatlands become significant sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Peatlands drainage and peat fires are responsible for almost one-quarter of carbon emissions from the land use sector. 

To address this situation, FAO and Wetlands International have launched the global ‘Organic soils and peatlands climate change mitigation initiative’.  The Initiative is an informal network of organizations and people committed to reducing emissions from peatlands and safeguarding the other vital ecosystem services peatlands provide. Institutions currently involved in the initiative include FAO, Wetlands InternationalGreifswald UniversityIUCN UKGlobal Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, the Center for International Forestry Research(CIFOR), Global Environment Centre (GEC), the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and the University of Helsinki.  

The Initiative will be launched on 17 May in Bonn Germany at a side event at the thirty-sixth session of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) held during the United Nations Framework Convention Climate Change Conference. At the launch, the Initiative‘s first publication will be released, ‘Peatlands – guidance for climate change mitigation by conservation, rehabilitation and sustainable use’. To download the publication, click here.