Peatlands of the Central Congo Basin, current realities and perspectives

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Globally peatland ecosystems -- wetlands with an accumulation of partially decomposed organic matter in the soil -- store the largest amount of terrestrial carbon per unit area (Rydin and Jeglum 2006; Leifeld and Menichetti 2018). Globally peatlands cover almost three percent of the global land surface (Yu et al. 2010; Page et al. 2011; Dargie et al. 2017), representing more than the total carbon stored in Earth’s vegetation and almost twice as much carbon as found within the world’s forests (Crump 2017). Drained and degrading peatlands are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, annually releasing 5 percent of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions (IPCC 2014), which is expected to increase. Therefore, protection and sustainable management of peatlands and urgent action to restore peatlands including through rewetting can avoid carbon emissions and maintain the carbon stored in the peatland ecosystem (Leifeld and Menichetti 2018; FAO 2020b).
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