World Wetlands Day on 2 February is a chance to highlight the vital role of peatlands in mitigating climate change.
“Strategies that address climate change must include the wise use of wetlands,” says UN Environment peatlands expert Dianna Kopansky. “We’ve already lost 35 per cent of them since 1970. Individuals, communities and governments must work together to protect these amazing ecosystems, which help us prepare for, cope with and bounce back from the impacts of climate change.”
Peatlands cover only about three per cent of our planet’s land, but account for nearly half the world’s wetlands.
According to the Ramsar Convention of 1971, “wetlands are land areas that are saturated or flooded with water either permanently or seasonally. Inland wetlands include marshes, ponds, lakes, fens, rivers, floodplains, and swamps.”
Peatlands are a type of wetland that occurs in almost every country on the globe. They store vast amounts of carbon—twice as much carbon as all the world’s forests. By conserving, protecting and restoring peatlands globally, we can reduce emissions and revive an essential ecosystem that provides many services, for people, the planet and the climate—including their vital role as a natural carbon sink. The theme for World Wetlands Day is “Wetlands and climate change”.
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