Landscapes 101: Get briefed on our planet’s ecosystems

All you need to know about peatlands, rangelands and more

A landscape in Chilean Patagonia, a region that features mountains, rangelands, drylands, and coasts on three oceans. Deensel, Flickr

This topic will be discussed at the Global Landscapes Forum New York on 28 September.

Scientists say that restoring the world’s forests by planting a trillion trees is by far the most promising – and cost-effective – means of tackling climate change. Beyond sequestering carbon, these trees can stand guard against extreme weather events; protect endangered species; and bring shelter, food, money and cultural preservation to communities around the world.

Yet forests aren’t the only ecosystems we stand to benefit from properly protecting and restoring to full health. More than 40 percent of the value of the world’s ecosystems are contained in wetlands; and Arctic peatlands, which make up some 30 percent of the Earth’s land surface, store 8 percent of all below-ground carbon. Three billion people depend on ocean life for their livelihoods, while 2 billion live in drylands suffering from water scarcity.

But wait… What exactly are drylands and peatlands? What role do mountains play in the water that comes out of our faucets? Is agriculture really destroying its own soil? As ecosystems and their well-being continue to gain ground in the media as our most important soldiers against the climate crisis, it’s important to first pause to understand what the planet’s different landscapes are and what each offers.

Here, Landscape News brings you a series of short illustrated explainers on each of the world’s most important landscapes, the challenges they face and why they matter. Read the ‘fast facts’ series below.


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