Peatlands  guidance for climate change mitigation by conservation, rehabilitation and sustainable use

Mitigation of Climate Change in Agriculture Series 5

Peatlands guidance for climate
change mitigation through conservation,
rehabilitation and sustainable use



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Mitigation of Climate Change in Agriculture Programme
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Rome 2012


Peatland drainage - mainly for agriculture, grazing and forestry - and peat fires are responsible for almost one quarter of carbon emissions from the land use sector. Peatlands and organic soils contain 30 percent of the worlds soil carbon but only cover 3 percent of the Earths land area. Peatlands provide many important ecosystem services, including water regulation, biodiversity conservation, and carbon sequestration and storage. Through conservation, restoration and better management, organic soils and peatlands can make a substantial contribution to reducing atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. This report provides information on management and finance options to achieve emissions reductions and enhance other vital ecosystem services from peatlands. A decision support tree guides users through potential options for the management of both cultivated and uncultivated peatlands. The report also summarizes the methodologies and data available for quantifying greenhouse gas emissions from peatlands and organic soils. Practical approaches are presented concerning measuring, reporting and verification, and accounting of greenhouse gas emissions. Country-specific case studies illustrate the problems, solutions and opportunities associated with peatland management. This report is a handbook for policy-makers, technical audiences and others interested in peatlands. This is the second edition of the report, which was first published in May 2012. The second edition has new information concerning grazing on peatlands and updates related to the finance options as well as measuring, reporting and verifying emissions and emission reductions. The authors of the report welcome any feedback or input ([email protected]) and hope that the information provided may support efforts to make a meaningful contribution to combat climate change through conservation, rehabilitation and sustainable use of peatland.

Table of Contents

Executive Summary


1. Introduction
2. Implementation
3. Finance options
4. MRV and practical solutions
5. Country-wide overview of opportunities




The conclusions given in this report are considered appropriate for the time of its preparation. They may be modified in the light of further knowledge. The designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) concerning the legal or development status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. The mention of specific companies or products of manufacturers, whether or not these have been patented, does not imply that these have been endorsed or recommended by FAO in preference to others of a similar nature that are not mentioned. The views expressed in this information product are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of FAO.

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© FAO 2012