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New map reveals more peat in the tropics

Key messages

  • An expert system model underpins a new global wetlands map with high spatial detail (232 x 232 m2) and a multisource approach (satellite, climatic and topographic data). The map suggests that much more peat exists in the tropics than was previously reported.
  • Unprecedented extents and volumes of peatlands are identified in the tropics, three times the size of previous estimates, and mainly outside Asia.
  • South America appears as the main host of peat areas and volumes with Brazil at the top the list, closely followed by Indonesia.
  • Tropical and sub-tropical countries hosting peatlands in all continents can use the map to direct, locate and prioritize conservation and management of wetlands and peatlands in the context of climate change mitigation and adaptation
  • Scientific engagement should be continued through intensive field campaigns to validate these new peat hotspots; the interactive map will facilitate this process

Author: Murdiyarso, D.; Román-Cuesta, R.M.; Verchot, L.V.; Herold, M.; Gumbricht, T.; Herold, N.; Martius, C.

Publication Year: 2017

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17528/cifor/006452