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Bulletin of UASVM Agriculture
Year: 2010  |  Volume: 67  |  Issue: 2  |  Page No.: 488 - 488

The Role of Peat Land in Climate Change

Anca Leonora SOTROPA    

Abstract: While covering only 3% of the world’s land area, peat lands contain 550 Gt of carbon in their peat. This is equivalent to 30% of all soil carbon, 75% of all atmospheric carbon, as much carbon as all terrestrial biomass, and twice the carbon stock of all forest biomass of the world. The carbon content of global peat is equivalent to 30% of all global soil carbon, 75% of all atmospheric carbon, equal to all terrestrial biomass, and twice the carbon stock in the forest biomass of the world. This makes peat lands the top long-term carbon stock in the terrestrial biosphere. Currently 65 million ha of the global peat land resource is degraded, largely as a result of drainage. Peat oxidation from this area (about 0.5% of the Earth’s land surface) is responsible for annual CO2 emissions of over 3 Gt. The current CO2 emissions from degraded peat lands of 3 Gt in one year are equivalent to over 10% of the total global anthropogenic CO2- emissions in 1990 or 20% of the total net 2003 GHG emissions. In fact, peat lands are responsible for all three main greenhouse gases - carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). Both the world's peat land carbon store and the current carbon dioxide emissions from degraded peat lands are so substantial that peat lands deserve a prominent position in global carbon policies.

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