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[September Free Report] Canadian Peatlands: Critical Carbon Sinks at Risk

by Fiona Brown | 06-09-2023 03:01 recommendations 0

Peatlands are wetlands with a shallow covering of standing water that prevents the plants that inhabit the peatland from fully decomposing. Over time, the resulting accumulation of plant matter forms a dense, marshy substance known as peat, storing the carbon absorbed by the plants as they biodegrade, creating natural climate change mitigation (1).

 

Peatlands are particularly prevalent in Canada, as one-third of global peatlands are in Canada, hosting 1.1million square kilometers, or 12% of Canada’s land area, and storing 150 billion tonnes of carbon. These valuable ecosystems are constantly at risk from human activity. In inhabited areas of Canada, up to 70% of peatlands and wetlands have been destroyed or degraded, with many drained for agriculture, development, mining, logging, and roads (2). 

 

Major cities such as Calgary, Alberta have been draining valuable peatlands for decades in order to make room for vast housing developments, but in 2013 the worst flood in Canadian history occurred in Calgary after a snow and rainstorm in the nearby Rocky Mountains, with experts estimating that the severity of the flood would have lessened drastically had local peatlands been conserved and protected (3).

 

With the value of peatlands as carbon sinks now gaining recognition, initiatives are gaining ground to conserve these crucial ecosystems, such as the initiatives of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), an international organization with a specific focus on conserving peatlands. The WCS achieves the protection of crucial ecosystems by assisting governments and local communities in planning protected area networks, developing management plans for these areas, securing United Nations World Heritage status for protected areas, as this ensures their protection for years to come (4).

 

Sources:

1. International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

https://www.iucn.org/resources/issues-brief/peatlands-and-climate-change

2. Nature Canada

https://naturecanada.ca/defend-nature/how-you-help-us-take-action/nature-based-climate-solutions/toolkit/wetlands-peatlands/

3. The Narwhal

https://thenarwhal.ca/opinion-peatland-canada-natural-disasters/

4. Wildlife Conservation Society

https://www.wcs.org/our-work/solutions/protected-areas

 

Photo Credit: Spruce Bog Trail, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada. Photo by F.N. Brown.

 
Spruce Bog Trail, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada. Photo by F.N. Brown.

FionaBrown

  • Canada E-gen Ambassador Fiona Brown
 
 
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7 Comments

SangHyeon Park

  • SangHyeon Park says :
    Hello, I'm mentor SangHyeon
    In terms of carbon absorption, Canada's peatlands are really important, and thank you for giving us good information about the conditions in which they are being destroyed. The destruction of mudflats in Korea is in a similar situation. Policymakers must consider the environmental impact of these reclamations.
    Thank you for the good article.
    Posted 28-09-2023 16:38

Emmanuel  Dassah

  • Emmanuel Dassah says :
    Thank you Fiona for such educative piece
    Posted 17-09-2023 12:02

Zulfiya  Yertayeva

  • Zulfiya Yertayeva says :
    Wow. It's was informative for me. Didn't know about peatlands before. Thanks for this great report!
    Posted 07-09-2023 13:52

Seeun Mentor

  • Seeun Mentor says :
    Hi, this is your mentor Seeun!
    Great job with the report and sources!!
    Marshlands were considered useless in the past, but people are now starting to recognize the importance of wetlands. Let's hope more people will put an effort into preserving these landscapes.
    Thank you for the article!!
    Posted 07-09-2023 13:04

Godfred Owusu

  • Godfred Owusu says :
    Interesting report! I have learnt from your report that, marshy plays an important role in our communities especially wetlands.
    Once again, thank you for sharing this informative report with us. Keep it up
    Posted 06-09-2023 17:33

Godfred Owusu Bempah

Richard Adayi

  • Richard Adayi says :
    love reading this and sources. thanks Fiona !
    Posted 06-09-2023 06:57

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