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Tropical wetlands initiative
For climate adaptation and mitigationCenter for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)Bogor, Indonesia
Tropical wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems on earth, harbouring unique aquatic and terrestrial communities high in biodiversity. Many threatened species (including orangutans, clouded leopards and Sumatran tigers) find refuge in Indonesia’s peat forests and mangroves, the most extensive in the world. Peatlands and mangroves also provide numerous ecosystem services to millions of coastal dwellers, who rely on them for life and livelihood. Coastal wetlands, especially mangroves, supply energy and nutrients to coral reefs and maintain fisheries by providing nursing and breeding habitat. Tropical wetlands protect inland areas from erosion, dissipate energy from storm surges and tsunamis, and buffer marine ecosystems from terrestrial sedimentation and pollutants. Peatlands and mangroves also store an immense amount of carbon from the steady accumulation of organic matter over millennia. Recent studies demonstrate that carbon pools in peat and mangrove forests are up to five times those of upland tropical, temperate and boreal forests, emphasising their significant role in the global carbon cycle. Ironically, mangroves and peatlands have the highest deforestation rates on Earth.