Alexandra Barthelmes, René Dommain and Hans Joosten
Proceedings of the 14th International Peat Congress
biomass-production, degrading-peatlands, ghg-mitigation, global, rewetting
Theme III. Agricultural use of peat and peatlands
Peatlands cover only 3 % of the global land surface, but contain one third (550 Gton) of the global soil carbon. About 10% of all peatlands are drained for different purposes and emit ~2.0 Gton CO2 per year, making drained and degraded peatlands a global emission hotspot. Drainage and degradation are strongly linked to economic utilization of peatlands. Intended global mitigation of GHG emissions must focus on providing alternatives to current non sustainable land use practices. A promising alternative is paludiculture (Latin ‘palus’ = swamp): the cultivation of biomass on wet and rewetted peatlands.
Based on exhaustive analysis of available sources, this paper presents a first worldwide overview on degraded peatlands as potential sites for different types of paludiculture. The highest potential of implementation of paludiculture have Europe and East Asia with degrading peatland areas of about 220 000 km² (mainly Russia, Belarus, Finland, Germany, Sweden, Poland) and 200 000 km² (mainly Indonesia, China, Malaysia; Mongolia), respectively.