Risks to carbon storage from land-use change revealed by peat thickness maps of Peru
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Tropical peatlands are among the most carbon-dense ecosystems but land-use change has led to the loss of large peatland areas, associated with substantial greenhouse gas emissions. To design effective conservation and restoration policies, maps of the location and carbon storage of tropical peatlands are vital. This is especially so in countries such as Peru where the distribution of its large, hydrologically intact peatlands is poorly known. Here field and remote sensing data support the model development of peatland extent and thickness for lowland Peruvian Amazonia. We estimate a peatland area of 62,714 km2 (5th and 95th confidence interval percentiles of 58,325 and 67,102 km2, respectively) and carbon stock of 5.4 (2.6–10.6) PgC, a value approaching the entire above-ground carbon stock of Peru but contained within just 5% of its land area. Combining the map of peatland extent with national land-cover data we reveal small but growing areas of deforestation and associated CO2 emissions from peat decomposition due to conversion to mining, urban areas and agriculture. The emissions from peatland areas classified as forest in 2000 represent 1–4% of Peruvian CO2 forest emissions between 2000 and 2016. We suggest that bespoke monitoring, protection and sustainable management of tropical peatlands are required to avoid further degradation and CO2 emissions.
Hastie , A , Honorio Coronado , E N , Reyna , J , Mitchard , E T A , Åkesson , C M , Baker , T R , Cole , L E S , Oroche , C J C , Dargie , G , Dávila , N , De Grandi , E C , Del Águila , J , Del Castillo Torres , D , De La Cruz Paiva , R , Draper , F C , Flores , G , Grández , J , Hergoualc’h , K , Householder , J E , Janovec , J P , Lähteenoja , O , Reyna , D , Rodríguez-Veiga , P , Roucoux , K H , Tobler , M , Wheeler , C E , Williams , M & Lawson , I T 2022 , ' Risks to carbon storage from land-use change revealed by peat thickness maps of Peru ' , Nature Geoscience , vol. First Online . https://doi.org/10.1038/s41561-022-00923-4
Copyright © Crown 2022. This work has been made available online in accordance with publisher policies or with permission. Permission for further reuse of this content should be sought from the publisher or the rights holder. This is the author created accepted manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at https://doi.org/10.1038/s41561-022-00923-4
DescriptionThis work was funded by NERC (grant ref. NE/R000751/1) to I.T.L., A.H., K.H.R., E.T.A.M., C.M.A., T.R.B., G.D. and E.C.D.G.; Leverhulme Trust (grant ref. RPG-2018-306) to K.H.R., L.E.S.C. and C.E.W.; Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (grant no. 5439, MonANPeru network) to T.R.B., E.N.H.C. and G.F.; Wildlife Conservation Society to E.N.H.C.; Concytec/British Council/Embajada Británica Lima/Newton Fund (grant ref. 220–2018) to E.N.H.C. and J.D.; Concytec/NERC/Embajada Británica Lima/Newton Fund (grant ref. 001–2019) to E.N.H.C. and N.D.; the governments of the United States (grant no. MTO-069018) and Norway (grant agreement no. QZA-12/0882) to K.H.; and NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellowship (grant ref no. NE/V018760/1) to E.N.H.C.
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