Thursday, March 13, 2014

U.S. Forest Service studies Peru

Peru’s tropical forests hold large amounts of carbon — but in such peatlands as this one, twice as much carbon could be stored in the flooded soil as in the trees above, Bhomia said. Because Peru has no comprehensive studies of its wetlands, however, no one knows how extensive the peatlands are or how much carbon they store, according to CIFOR scientist Kristell Hergoualc’h. As a result, when a swamp is drained for logging, agriculture or development, the amount of carbon dioxide emitted — calculated based on the trees that are cut — could be underestimated, because it does not include the emissions from peat. This may affect both the greenhouse gas emission reports that Peru must file with international agencies as well as the compensation it could receive for REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) implementation, Hergoualc’h said. The work she is doing with Bhomia and other researchers as part of the Sustainable Wetlands Adaptation and Mitigation Program (SWAMP) — a collaboration involving CIFOR, the U.S. Forest Service and the Peruvian Amazon Research Institute (Instituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonía Peruana, or IIAP) — aims to fill this information gap.

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