Peatlands are a source of life for plants, animals and people. They provide food, clean water and other benefits to nearby communities, and are an essential resource for livelihoods. They are also home to many of the world’s threatened species, such as orangutans, rhinoceroses and leopards.
Peatlands play a critical role in climate change mitigation and adaptation. Draining, clearing and burning of peatlands for agriculture and other purposes is a massive source of greenhouse gas emissions globally. Meanwhile, the carbon storage potential of undisturbed peatlands is widely underappreciated.
Research is needed to better map and quantify the world’s peatlands, and understand their diverse values across landscapes, including for local communities. This will support more effective efforts toward conservation and restoration of peatlands, and global action on climate change.
What are peatlands?
Peatlands are formed when an abundance of water slows the rate of decay of vegetation, leaving behind a layer of rich, organic matter known as peat. This makes them highly efficient carbon sinks – despite covering only 3-5% of the earth’s surface, peatlands are estimated to hold more than 30% of the world’s soil carbon stocks.
Peatlands are found all over the world, from permafrost regions to tropical rainforests and coastal areas. Yet they remain some of the least understood and monitored ecosystems in the world.
Why peatlands have remained under the radar, despite being among the most important terrestrial ecosystems for the fight against climate changeLearn more
A special edition of the Global Landscapes Forum, with a focus on peatlands, was hosted on 18 May 2017 in Jakarta, Indonesia. The event brought together a range of stakeholders involved in the use and management of peatlands, from government officials to private sector representatives, community members, researchers and civil society.Learn more
CIFOR will join various sessions at the Bonn Climate Change Conference, bringing the latest scientific research and insights on the climate dimensions of land use, forestry, the urban environment, peatlands and other emissions hotspots in the tropics.Learn more
The multiple dimensions of peatlands protection and restoration are part of the areas of research of CIFOR and FOERDIA. Both institutions have collaborated since 1997 and will continue to work together to connect research with policymaking and implementation in a way that triggers action.Learn more
Gender • Gender and migration • Gender and REDD+ safeguards • Large-scale land investments and green economy • Palm oil • Peatlands Languages:
Climate change mitigation and adaptation • Coordinates the Global Comparative Study on REDD+ • Ecosystem services • Forest ecology biodiversity Languages:
English, German, Portuguese, Spanish
Carbon accounting • Forest policy in Indonesia • Mangroves and peatlands Languages:
Smallholder timber plantations • Timber certification • Rural livelihoods • Community-based forest management • Peatlands Languages:
Climate change • Forest governance • Systems modelling Languages:
Climate change adaptation and mitigation • Landscape management for environmental services • Landscape management of forested areas for environmental services • Peatlands Languages:
Finance and Investment • Forest and Landscape Governance • Rural Development and Agrarian Change • Sustainable Development • Value Chains and Sustainable Supply Languages:
English, Portuguese, Spanish
Bushmeat (& Ebola) • Ecology and management of tropical forests • Forests in Africa • Gender • Peatlands • Production forests Languages:
Food security and nutrition • Peatlands • Trade-offs between conservation and development Languages:
Available on demand: Broadcast-quality HD video footage of peatlands (landscapes, communities, fires, research) and interviews with experts.