Organic soils and peatlands
Towards climate responsible peatlands management
On October 3, 2013, MICCA’s Community of Practice on Climate Change Mitigation in Agriculture hosted an online webinar for practitioners, policy makers, entrepreneurs, researchers and civil society organizations interested in responsible management of peatlands and climate change mitigation.Photo: GEC
Presentations and recordings from the webinar
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See the Programme of the event
More recorded webinars of the Community of Practice
An international workshop on peatlands management was held at FAO HQ in Rome from 7 to 9 May 2013, with financial support from the Government of Norway under the MAGHG project. The aims of the workshop “Towards sustainable land management practices for peatlands – special focus on drained areas” were to gather information on the advances in the quantification of greenhouse gas emissions from drained peatlands, the location of peatlands and their use, and the potential for changing towards more responsible management practices, especially in areas used for agriculture and forestry or abandoned after drainage and use.
Twenty-five experts participated in the workshop, providing an insight of the state of knowledge on the actual and potential utilization of the peatlands, with specific attention to the mitigation potential and options while continuing the provision of agricultural, forestry and fishery production.
At the workshop, an initiative was launched to write a guidebook on improved and responsible peatland management. The writing of the guidebook is being coordinated by the MICCA Programme. Additionally, follow-up activities have been discussed to improve the existing spatial knowledge on peatlands and to support partner countries in preparing Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions focused on peatlands.
To view the workshop report summary – Towards sustainable land management practices for peatlands: special focus on drained areas – click here
Greenhouse gas measurements of peatland with chambers, Belarus. Photo: Hans Joosten Peatland side event in SBSTA
MICCA’s work on peatlands and climate change mitigation was presented in a SBSTA side event in Bonn. The side event presented nationally appropriate mitigation actions for peatland as an option for countries. The event informed negotiations on addressing land use in the post-2020 framework, especially concentrating on the emissions of peat soils, as drained peatlands cover 0.3 percent of the land, but produce 6 percent of the global anthropogenic CO2 emissions. The event showcased practice examples from Russia and Indonesia. Michael Succow Foundation and Wetlands International jointly organized the event.
To view the presentations from FAO, Russian Academy of Science and Greifswald University click here.
This report is a handbook for policy-makers, technical audiences and others interested in peatlands. The new, updated edition has additional information about grazing on peatlands, and includes updates on options for financing as well as measuring, reporting and verifying emissions and emission reductions.
Peatlands store tremendous amounts of carbon. However, when they are drained and used – mainly for agriculture, grazing and forestry – peatlands become significant sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Peatlands drainage and peat fires are responsible for almost one-quarter of carbon emissions from the land use sector.
Organic soils and peatlands climate change mitigation initiative
FAO, the MICCA Programme and Wetlands International have launched the global 'Organic soils and peatlands climate change mitigation initiative'.
At the FAO Knowledge Event on climate-smart approaches for agriculture, Marcel Silvius from Wetlands International and Marja-Liisa Tapio-Biström from FAO made a presentation on Peatlands and REDD+
• Download the Peatlands and REDD+ presentation .
The Initiative is an informal network of organizations and people committed to reducing emissions from peatlands and safeguarding the other vital ecosystem services peatlands provide. Institutions currently involved in the initiative include FAO, Wetlands International, Greifswald University, IUCN UK, Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Global Environment Centre (GEC), the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Michael Succow Foundation and the University of Helsinki.
Listed below are the presentations made at the launch of the 'Organic soils and peatlands climate change mitigation initiative' in Bonn Germany in 2012.
Facts about organics soils and climate change
• Peatlands and organic soils cover only 3 percent of the land area but contain 30 percent of the soil carbon.
• Including emissions from peat fires, the CO2 emissions from drained peatlands globally amount to some 2 gigatonnes per year and currently represent almost 25 percent of the CO2 emissions of the entire land use, land use change and forestry sector.
• Only about 15 percent of peatlands are used and drained for agriculture, livestock rearing and forestry including bioenergy (oil palm) plantations. These drained peatlands, on 0.3 percent of the world’s land cover, emit, however, almost 6 percent of global CO2 emissions.
• Southeast Asia is by far the world‘s most important peatland hotspot, with half of the global peatland emissions originating from this region where rates of peat swamp deforestation and drainage are high.
• In Indonesia, where 95 percent of the peatlands are already degraded, peatlands are responsible for over 60 percent of the country’s total emissions.
• Western Indonesia (Kalimantan and Sumatra) will lose all of its peat swamp forests by 2030 if current annual deforestation rates of 3.4 percent are not reduced.
• After Indonesia, the European Union is the world’s second largest emitter of greenhouse gases from peatlands. In the 27 countries of the European Union, cropland on organic soil is responsible for 77 percent of the CO2 emissions from all cropland and grazing land on organic soils for 79 percent of the emissions from all grazing land.
• Damaged UK peatlands are already releasing almost 3.7 metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent each year, the equivalent to the average emissions of around 660 000 UK households.
These figures are taken from Peatlands – guidance for climate change mitigation by conservation, rehabilitation and sustainable use