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Peatlands and Climate in a Ramsar context

A Nordic-Baltic Perspective

image of Peatlands and Climate in a Ramsar context

Peatlands in the Nordic Baltic region and elsewhere in the world store large amounts of carbon and are at the same time important for conservation of biodiversity. Thus peatlands are space-effective carbon stocks, but when drained carbon and nitrogen are released as greenhouse gases to the atmosphere and as nitrate to the surface water, while methane will be released when rewetting.New knowledge reveals that one of the most efficient means to mitigate emissions of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere are the restoration of drained peatlands by reestablish former high water tables on organic soils.This project on synergies between climate change mitigation and the restoration of peatlands has been conducted under a regional Ramsar initiative covering the Nordic and Baltic countries (NorBalWet), with support from the Nordic Council of Ministers. The report contains chapters on peatlands and their role in climate change mitigation, individual country chapters and the role of the Ramsar Convention.

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Conclusions and recommendations

Drained peatlands constitute a disproportionally large climate burden. The 0.3% of the world’s land area that consist of drained peatland is responsible for 5% of all anthropogenic CO2 emissions, tendency increasing.

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