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Peatlands and Carbon Sequestration

Peatlands and carbon storage

Peatlands are globally important in terms of greenhouse gas emissions as it is estimated that they comprise up to 30% of the total global soil carbon pool. Peatlands contain twice as much carbon as the world’s forests although they cover just 3% of the global land surface. They have an incredible carbon storage capacity and a huge role in climate change mitigation endeavours.

Peatlands and carbon storage

Peatlands are globally important in terms of greenhouse gas emissions as it is estimated that they comprise up to 30% of the total global soil carbon pool. Peatlands contain twice as much carbon as the world’s forests although they cover just 3% of the global land surface. They have an incredible carbon storage capacity and a huge role in climate change mitigation endeavours.

Peatlands benefits

Peatlands have the potential to reduce millions of tons of carbon dioxide, prevent major flooding, and save some of the most biodiverse areas in the world. Due to the process of peat accumulation, peatlands are carbon-rich ecosystems that store and sequester more carbon than any other type of terrestrial ecosystem, exceeding the carbon stock of global forest ecosystems.

Carbon capture

As peatlands develop over time, the build-up of plant and animal remains creates a store of carbon in a waterlogged and anoxic environment. Due to the waterlogged condition, there is limited scope for microbes to break down the peat and release carbon dioxide. Carbon is retained in the soil as layers of peat build up over thousands of years.

Carbon capture

As peatlands develop over time, the build-up of plant and animal remains creates a store of carbon in a waterlogged and anoxic environment. Due to the waterlogged condition, there is limited scope for microbes to break down the peat and release carbon dioxide. Carbon is retained in the soil as layers of peat build up over thousands of years.

Emissions

When disturbed or drained, peatlands can become significant sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Conversely, if disturbed peatlands can be rehabilitated or restored, greenhouse gas emissions can be averted, and carbon sequestration can begin again. Peatlands account for about 20% of Ireland’s land surface so this would represent a huge climate change benefit.

Peatlands rehabilitation

Bord na Móna is now in the process of rehabilitating and restoring thousands of hectares of peatland in Ireland. The objective of these is to facilitate peat-forming conditions once again where possible and to achieve other positive carbon mitigation objectives where possible, such as restoring the carbon sequestration function of the bog.

Peatlands rehabilitation

Bord na Móna is now in the process of rehabilitating and restoring thousands of hectares of peatland in Ireland. The objective of these is to facilitate peat-forming conditions once again where possible and to achieve other positive carbon mitigation objectives where possible, such as restoring the carbon sequestration function of the bog.