Scientists confirm existence of huge peatland in Central Africa; urge land use decisions that protect its carbon-storage capacity

Scientists have mapped what they say is the largest peatland in the tropics, an area larger than New York State in the Congo Basin in Central Africa.

The peat, which consists of slowly decomposing vegetation in swamp forests, has been accumulating for more than 10,000 years. As in all peatlands, the vegetation is a natural storehouse of carbon taken from the atmosphere — in this case, about 30 billion metric tons of carbon, or roughly equivalent to the carbon in two decades of fossil fuel emissions in the United States.

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