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  • Writer's pictureSMART

Peatlands could face further losses

Researchers have found one of the last undisturbed tropical peat forests in Borneo

Peat forests, which once occupied large swaths of land in Southeast Asia and beyond, provided a significant “sink” that helped remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

But such forests have been disappearing fast due to clear-cutting and drainage projects making way for plantations. Now, research shows peatlands face another threat, as climate change alters rainfall patterns, potentially destroying even forested peatlands that remain undrained.

The net result is that these former carbon sinks, which have taken greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere, are now net carbon sources, instead accelerating the planet’s warming.

The findings are described in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, in a paper by MIT Professor Charles Harvey, SMART principal research scientist Dr Alexander Cobb, and seven others at MIT and other institutions. See more on MIT News and Asian Scientist.


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