Saving Peatlands: Their Carbon & Nature

Wetlands International is dedicated to saving the world’s peatlands: wetland areas with carbon-dense peat soils. These wetlands are home to many threatened species and globally store at least 550 Gigatonnes of carbon in their organic soils. This is twice the amount of carbon stored in the world’s forests.

Saving peatlands: their carbon and nature

The problem

Natural peatlands sequester carbon and thus help to mitigate climate change. Human actions, such as forest clearing and drainage for agriculture have turned many peat swamps into sources of greenhouse gas emissions. With two billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually, peatland loss has become a climate problem of global magnitude. Through our research, field restoration work and advocacy, we promote the conservation and rehabilitation of peatlands. 

What we do

  • With local partners and communities, we restore drained peatlands in Russia, Indonesia (Kalimantan and Sumatera) and China by rewetting and revegetation.
  • We advocate for incentives to conserve and restore peatlands in UN climate policies. 
  • We fight the underlying economic drivers of peatland loss, including peat mining in Europe and Argentina, plowing peatlands for agriculture in Europe and conversion to pulp and oil palm plantations in Asia.
  • To reduce the expansion of palm oil in peatlands, we advocate on sector-wide criteria in the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and on supportive policies on palm oil for biodiesel.
  • We advise governments on sustainable peatland management. Especially in Russia, China, Indonesia, Chile and Argentina.



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