Like forests and oceans, wetland plants are also very efficient at sequestering and storing carbon. And, good news, the recovery of these wetlands is progressing, at the same time increasing their capacity to be used as a natural and sustainable tool to combat climate change.
When we talk about planetary resources for the storage of CO2 in the atmosphere, forests and oceans are mentioned most often. But swamp plants are also valuable carbon sinks. This is the result of research by a team of researchers from the Netherlands, the United States and Germany. Indeed, the study, published in the journal Science, shows that saline and freshwater swamps capture and store huge amounts of CO2 thanks to the plants that make up these landscapes.
Swamp plants include peat bogs, salt marshes, mangrove forests and seagrass beds. If these cover just 1% of the Earth’s total surface, they capture more than 20% of all CO2 absorbed by ecosystems around the world, the study said.
“If we look at the amount of CO2 stored per square meter, it turns out that wetlands store about five times more CO2 than forests and up to 500 times more than oceans”explains the co-author of the study Ralph Temmink, ecologist specializing in the study of wetlands and professor at the University of Utrecht (Netherlands).
Wetland recovery at your fingertips
Most of these wetlands help each other when they grow close together. In raised bogs, for example, sphagnum mosses can retain an enormous amount of rainwater, which promotes the growth of these plants and also helps to capture CO2.
“Restoration is much more successful when plants are placed in large dense clumps, when their landscape features are mimicked, or simply when very large areas are restored at once”says Tjisse van der Heide, researcher at NIOZ and professor of coastal ecology at the University of Groningen (the Netherlands). “The good news is that with this knowledge, large-scale restoration of these important wetlands is now within reach”he decides.
(ETX Daily Up)