From: , Ecologist, More from this Affiliate
Published January 16, 2017 02:04 PM

World's biggest tropical carbon sink found in Congo rainforest

A 145,000 sq km area of peatland swamp forest has been discovered in the Congo Basin, writes Tim Radford, and it holds a record 30 Gt of carbon, equivalent to 20 years of US fossil fuel emissions. Now the race is on to protect it from damaging development that would emit that carbon over coming decades.

British scientists have just discovered one of the richest stores of carbon on Earth: 145,000 square kilometres of peatland - an area larger than England - in the forests of the central Congo basin.

The reservoir of compressed plant material holds at least 30 Gt (billion tonnes) of carbon. And this pristine and undisturbed sink of peat is the equivalent of about two decades of fossil fuel combustion in the United States.

The discovery, reported in the journal Nature, is significant for three reasons. One is that it adds a substantial new component to one of the most head-scratching problems in climate science: the arithmetic of the carbon cycle, a cycle vital both to all living things and to climate machinery.

Read more at The Ecologist

Photo Credits Paul Godard via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND)

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