Smoke on water: countering global threats from peatland loss and degradation

Smoke on water: countering global threats from peatland loss and degradation

Smoke on Water is a Rapid Response Assessment that looks at peatland location, extent, threats and the policies to manage and protect them. The goal of this rapid response assessment, carried out on behalf of UN Environment and based on the efforts of more than 30 contributors, is to raise awareness about the importance of the world's peatlands and to encourage immediate action to preserve them.

The assessment supports the Global Peatlands Initiative and is based on existing data and information. It's main messages are:

1. Peatlands are important to human societies around the world. They contribute signicantly to climate change mitigation and adaptation through carbon sequestration and storage, biodiversity conservation, water regime and quality regulation, and the provision of other ecosystem services that support livelihoods.

2. Immediate action is required to prevent further peatland degradation and the serious environmental, economic and social repercussions it entails.

3. A landscape approach is vital and good practices in peatland management and restoration must be shared and implemented across all peatland landscapes to save these threatened ecosystems and their services to people.

4. Local communities should receive support to sustainably manage their peatlands by preserving traditional non-destructive uses and introducing innovative management alternatives.

5. A comprehensive mapping of peatlands worldwide is essential to better understanding their extent and status, and to enable us to safeguard them.

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