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Peatlands and Climate Change

“Peatlands are wetlands with a thick layer of organic soil. Peatlands cover only three percent of the global land area, but they store 30 percent of the world’s soil carbon.

In many parts of the world peatlands are drained and used for agriculture and forestry. When drained, peatlands become net sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. According to FAOSTAT estimates they contribute up to 1 Gigaton of GHG emissions per year through oxidation. This makes them the third largest emitter after crop and livestock agriculture and net forest conversion. 

In addition, draining peatlands changes vegetation cover, erodes biodiversity, lowers water quality, increases the frequency of fires, causes land subsidence and can lead to other negative environmental consequences.”

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Burns Bog is a raised bog ecosystem covering approximately 3,000 hectares of the Fraser River delta between the south arm of the Fraser River and Boundary Bay. The largest undeveloped urban landmass in North America, Burns Bog is globally unique because of its chemistry, form, flora and large size.

Though it took sphagnum mosses over 3000 years to form the Bog, human beings have destroyed half of it in the last century. Burns Bog has been isolated from surrounding areas by development. The animal population has been greatly reduced, and and some species have been pushed out entirely. Human development has harmed the bog’s water table and threatens its very survival. Highway 91, built in 1986, and the South Fraser Perimeter Road have cut directly into the bog, causing serious and lasting damage.

Peatlands and climate change go hand in hand.
View and download the “Peatland and Climate Change” info-graphic here!

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