World’s largest peatland with vast carbon sink found in Congo

Scientists have recently discovered the world’s largest tropical peatland, which spans between the two Congos.

(Next Media Online) – Scientists have recently discovered the world’s largest tropical peatland, which spans between the two Congos.

The newly discovered Cuvette Centrale peatland lies in the central Congo Basin, covering 145,500 square kilometers, which is an area larger than England. The peatland locks in 30 billion tonnes of carbon, which is the equivalent of three years of the world’s total fossil fuel emissions.

Peat is an organic wetland soil formed after dead plant debris. Peatlands act as carbon sinks by removing carbon from the atmosphere through plant growth. If peatlands dry out, such as through drainage for agriculture, it could trigger further decomposition of the peat, thus releasing carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere.

“Peatlands are only a resource in the fight against climate change when left intact, and so maintaining large stores of carbon in undisturbed peatlands should be a priority,” Simon Lewis Leeds University ecologist and one of the authors of the study on Cuvette Centrale peatland told Reuters.