Russian, German, and French scientists have prepared an article on the wetland landscapes of the Earth. The joint work shows how great the role of peat bogs is in absorbing carbon (one of the main components of greenhouse gases) and cooling the planet. While peat bogs have been lost in a significant part of Europe, Siberia’s Vasyugan Swamp is the main “refrigerator” of the planet. It helps reduce the effects of global warming, reduces flood risks, and stores and purifies fresh water. According to scientists, the ecosystem services that peatlands provide to humanity must be monetized. The publication will be published in a special issue of the journal Ambio (Q1) by the Swedish Academy of Sciences.
In the spring of 2020, TSU scientists took the initiative to include wetlands in the calculation mechanisms for the Paris Climate Agreement (formerly the Kyoto Protocol). Accounting for peatlands in the allocation of quotas will bring major bonuses to Russia.
According to the authors of the article, for many centuries peat bogs did not have recognition, they were traditionally regarded as worthless inconveniences and even fatal places. Therefore, the bogs were actively drained to convert them into agricultural and forest lands, supposedly beneficial for humans. Some countries almost completely lost their swamps: for example, in Germany their area decreased by 98%, in Denmark by 93%, in the Netherlands 95% of peatlands were lost, and in Ireland 82%. Dried peatlands are converted from carbon dioxide sinks to a source of CO2, especially when a large amount of carbon is released into the atmosphere by fires.
The authors emphasize that swamps are not only the main cooling element for the Earth. They store and purify fresh water from heavy metals and other pollutants, and reduce the risk of floods. Along with this, peatlands, in particular, the Vasyugan Swamp, are the habitat of the rarest species that are on the verge of extinction. The rarest of them is the thin-billed curlew, found only in this place and now the symbol (logo) of the Vasyugan Swamp.