A leading environmental researcher at the University of Leicester is to head an international team to protect an area that stores up to 70 billion tonnes of carbon.
Dr Susan Page, of the Department of Geography, has been awarded 458,000 Euros funding from the European Commission for the international project involving partners from Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Holland, Finland and the UK.
The CARBOPEAT project will investigate the Carbon-Climate-Human Relationships of Tropical Peatlands.
Dr Page said: "These peatlands are carbon-dense ecosystems that are extremely vulnerable to destabilisation through human and climate induced changes.
"Located mainly in Southeast Asia, they store 50-70 billion tonnes of carbon (3% global soil carbon) but poor land management practices and fire, mainly associated with plantation development and logging, are releasing some of this carbon and contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.
"The CARBOPEAT project will identify key issues and critical gaps in our understanding of tropical peatland carbon dynamics, analyse implications for policy, and formulate guidelines for optimizing the tropical peat carbon store that can be understood readily by policy makers and decision takers in both European and Southeast Asian countries.
"It is anticipated that the project will contribute to future UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) discussions on reducing global carbon emissions. "
At a kick-off meeting of the project partners held in the University of Leicester, Dr Page said: "I have been involved in several research projects investigating the ecology of tropical peat swamps, but with the CARBOPEAT project we now have the opportunity to present our findings to a wider audience.
"Tropical peatlands are a globally significant source of carbon emissions to the atmosphere. Hopefully, through this project, we can promote urgent international actio
Contact: Dr. Susan Page
University of Leicester