Tropical peatlands are one of the most efficient carbon sinks.
Tropical peatlands are one of the most producing carbon dioxides. The flip side is that the peat can emit massive amounts of CO2 into the air when it is damaged. This could be caused by change, degradation, or fire. This would cause massive amounts of CO2 to go into our atmosphere causing climate change. To further understand this, scientists from the University of Göttingen examined the peatland areas in Sumatra and Borneo in Indonesia. They examined how they developed over 1000s of years and how the climate has changed. The results were published in Global Change Biology.
To discover and learn more about the environment over the past 17,000 years, researchers analyzed 2 peat cores which are each more than 8 meters long. They carried out their studies in search of pollen, spores, or maybe even charcoal, as well as conducted the age of carbon and chemical investigations on the peat. After the study, it showed that there were much higher concentrations of charcoal 9000 to 4000 years ago. There is a sign that there were more forest fires back in the time contributing to pollution.
Peat is one of the first stages of the creation of coal. Coal is an energy source that was discovered and first used in the late 1700s. This is known as the industrial revolution. But, people started to stop using coal and shifted to oil and natural gas which was discovered decades later. Coal is formed from animals and takes more than 10 million years to form. Dead animals and plants are buried by erosion and are turned into peat. Since coal produces a lot of pollution, so does peat. It produces so much methane and CO2 than you could even imagine contributing to pollution.
Since this is natural, we can’t stop this. So let’s stop pollution so at least we could emit lesser amounts of hazardous gases like methane and carbon dioxide to make the earth a better place to live! Remember it’s time to remember our Mother Earth and time to give it back!
Author: Sri Nihal Tammana
Source: University of Göttingen
PC: A glimpse through a pristine peat swamp forest in the Kampar Peninsula, Sumatra (Credit: A. Hapsari)