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The requirement for improving greenhouse gases flux estimates for peatlands in the UK 2011

Terrestrial JNCC Publications Pressures 0963-8091 Evidence Habitats JNCC report series Lowland Wetland Monitoring Plants Surveillance and Monitoring 457 Greenhouse gas


Under new climate change legislations (Climate Change Act, 2008), action to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will be required from all sectors of UK society. The recognition that most of UK soil carbon is held below our feet in carbon-rich soils has led to a need for better quantification of the role of different management practices in UK peatlands on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Peatland ecosystems are unique, specialist habitats recognised under international and national legislation, acting as key stores of terrestrial carbon. Peatlands contain over half the estimated 10 billion tonnes of carbon stored in UK soil, and a loss of only 5% of UK peatland carbon would equate to the total annual UK anthropogenic GHG. Damaged peatlands can be restored to reduce these emissions, but there is a need for better empirical emissions data to improve understanding and appropriate use of such management practices.

To improve available understanding of the role played by peatland in UK GHG emissions, a consortium of governments and agencies commissioned a review to establish the emission factors which could be derived from research so far, the level of completeness and uncertainty, and the degree to which currently deployed research effort will address the key deficiencies (Worral et al. 2011 – JNCC Report No. 442).

This report provides an overview of the review, targeted to specific UK policy needs and compiled by the project steering group and JNCC. It is aimed at UK policy makers and research providers, and outlines a framework for prioritisation of research needs. A second report (Evans et al. 2011 – JNCC Report No. 443) presents the research needs required to improve quantification of the carbon / greenhouse gas fluxes to and from UK peatlands.

Resource type Publication

Topic category Environment

Reference date 2011·09·01

Birkin, L.J., Bailey, S., Brewis, F.E., Bruneau, P., Crosher, I., Dobbie, K., Hill, C., Johnson, S., Jones, P., Shepherd, M.J., Skates, J., Way, L. The requirement for improving greenhouse gases flux estimates for peatlands in the UK. JNCC Report No. 457, JNCC, Peterborough.

This report provides an overview of a review undertaken to improve understanding of the role played by peatland in UK greenhouse gas emissions.

Responsible organisation
Communications, JNCC publisher

Limitations on public access No limitations

Use constraints Available under the Open Government Licence 3.0

Metadata date 2020·05·19

Metadata point of contact
Communications, JNCC

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