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Peatlands of
Latin America & the Caribbean
Kristell Hergoualc’h, Monica Maldonado, Adriana Urciuolo, Charlotte Wheeler
GLF Peatlands
The Global Peatlands Assessment: Mapping, Policy, and Action
6th June 2024
Bonn, Germany
▪ LAC: 13% global peatlands
Peatland extent &
distribution
▪ Largest area: Amazon basin
Global
Peatlands
Assessment
(2022)
▪ Ecological zones
68% tropical rainforest, 21% tropical moist deciduous forest
Ecological zones & Ecosystems
▪ Central America & Caribbean
Mangroves, Raphia taedigera
palm swamps
▪ South America
Mauritia flexuosa palm swamps,
herbaceous swamps, pole
forests, mangroves
Ecosystems
▪ Mountain – Central America,
Guayana, Brazil
Shrublands, semi-deciduous forests
▪ Mountain – Andes, Patagonia
Cushion, sedge and sphagnum
dominated lands
All these “peat-forming”
ecosystems also occur on mineral
soil ⇒ Peat ground truthing
essential
Critical knowledge gaps
▪ Peatlands localization & identification: General lack of
- National soil maps ⇒ peat maps
- Inventories & classification
Great uncertainties in area estimates
E.g.: Soil map of Brazil predicts 26,661 km2 of organic soil
i.e. 10 times less than in the GPA & other maps
Only 1 study ground truthed peat presence in the
Amazon, where 80% of peatlands are expected to be
Critical knowledge gaps
▪ Peatlands ecosystem services: Bare knowledge on
- C stocks (peat)
- Greenhouse gas emissions / uptakes
- Biodiversity
- Water flows
E.g.: Only Peru holds detailed peatland C stock maps for
the Amazon basin and some Andean areas, as well as GHG
flux data
Critical knowledge gaps
▪ Peatland status
Major threats: resource extraction, mining,
infrastructure, overgrazing, fire, invasive species,
conversion to agriculture, urbanization
Little is known but degradation without drainage seems
prevalent in the region
E.g.: In Peruvian Amazonia, palm swamps degraded through
cutting of M. flexuosa for fruit collection (11% degraded in
2018, degradation rate increasing Marcus et al. (2024))
▪ All knowledge gaps ⇒ inclusion of peatlands into
conservation, land use, and climate policy very limited
Case study: Progress in Peru
▪ Science: 15 years of national-
international collaborative research
E.g.: Peatland & C stock maps, GHG
flux estimates, biodiversity
Hastie
et al.
(2022)
▪ Science-policy interaction: transparent
& long-term participative process
⇒ National decree for wetlands sustainable management
specifically addresses peatlands
⇒ Approved NDC reduced GHG from avoided peatland
deforestation
cifor-icraf.org | globallandscapesforum.org | resilient-landscapes.org
The Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF) harnesses the power of trees, forests
and agroforestry landscapes to address the most pressing global challenges of our time – biodiversity loss, climate change,
food security, livelihoods and inequity. CIFOR and ICRAF are CGIAR Research Centers.
Thank you!

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Sustainable Manufacturing (ENERCO Energy)
 

Peatlands of Latin America and the Caribbean

  • 1. Peatlands of Latin America & the Caribbean Kristell Hergoualc’h, Monica Maldonado, Adriana Urciuolo, Charlotte Wheeler GLF Peatlands The Global Peatlands Assessment: Mapping, Policy, and Action 6th June 2024 Bonn, Germany
  • 2. ▪ LAC: 13% global peatlands Peatland extent & distribution ▪ Largest area: Amazon basin Global Peatlands Assessment (2022)
  • 3. ▪ Ecological zones 68% tropical rainforest, 21% tropical moist deciduous forest Ecological zones & Ecosystems ▪ Central America & Caribbean Mangroves, Raphia taedigera palm swamps ▪ South America Mauritia flexuosa palm swamps, herbaceous swamps, pole forests, mangroves
  • 4. Ecosystems ▪ Mountain – Central America, Guayana, Brazil Shrublands, semi-deciduous forests ▪ Mountain – Andes, Patagonia Cushion, sedge and sphagnum dominated lands All these “peat-forming” ecosystems also occur on mineral soil ⇒ Peat ground truthing essential
  • 5. Critical knowledge gaps ▪ Peatlands localization & identification: General lack of - National soil maps ⇒ peat maps - Inventories & classification Great uncertainties in area estimates E.g.: Soil map of Brazil predicts 26,661 km2 of organic soil i.e. 10 times less than in the GPA & other maps Only 1 study ground truthed peat presence in the Amazon, where 80% of peatlands are expected to be
  • 6. Critical knowledge gaps ▪ Peatlands ecosystem services: Bare knowledge on - C stocks (peat) - Greenhouse gas emissions / uptakes - Biodiversity - Water flows E.g.: Only Peru holds detailed peatland C stock maps for the Amazon basin and some Andean areas, as well as GHG flux data
  • 7. Critical knowledge gaps ▪ Peatland status Major threats: resource extraction, mining, infrastructure, overgrazing, fire, invasive species, conversion to agriculture, urbanization Little is known but degradation without drainage seems prevalent in the region E.g.: In Peruvian Amazonia, palm swamps degraded through cutting of M. flexuosa for fruit collection (11% degraded in 2018, degradation rate increasing Marcus et al. (2024)) ▪ All knowledge gaps ⇒ inclusion of peatlands into conservation, land use, and climate policy very limited
  • 8. Case study: Progress in Peru ▪ Science: 15 years of national- international collaborative research E.g.: Peatland & C stock maps, GHG flux estimates, biodiversity Hastie et al. (2022) ▪ Science-policy interaction: transparent & long-term participative process ⇒ National decree for wetlands sustainable management specifically addresses peatlands ⇒ Approved NDC reduced GHG from avoided peatland deforestation
  • 9. cifor-icraf.org | globallandscapesforum.org | resilient-landscapes.org The Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF) harnesses the power of trees, forests and agroforestry landscapes to address the most pressing global challenges of our time – biodiversity loss, climate change, food security, livelihoods and inequity. CIFOR and ICRAF are CGIAR Research Centers. Thank you!