University of Leicester
Browse
Crezee_et_al_2022_Nature_Geoscience_in_press.pdf (10.75 MB)

Mapping peat thickness and carbon stocks of the central Congo Basin using field data

Download (10.75 MB)
journal contribution
posted on 2024-03-26, 15:59 authored by Bart Crezee, Greta C Dargie, Corneille EN Ewango, Edward TA Mitchard, Ovide B Emba, Joseph T Kanyama, Pierre Bola, Jean-Bosco N Ndjango, Nicholas T Girkin, Yannick E Bocko, Suspense A Ifo, Wannes Hubau, Dirk Seidensticker, Rodrigue Batumike, Gerard Imani, Aida Cuni-Sanchez, Christopher A Kiahtipes, Judicael Lebamba, Hans-Peter Wotzka, Hollie Bean, Timothy R Baker, Andy J Baird, Arnoud Boom, Paul J Morris, Susan E Page, Ian T Lawson, Simon L Lewis

The world’s largest tropical peatland complex is found in the central Congo Basin. However, there is a lack of in situ measurements to understand the peatland’s distribution and the amount of carbon stored in it. So far, peat in this region has been sampled only in largely rain-fed interfluvial basins in the north of the Republic of the Congo. Here we present the first extensive field surveys of peat in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which covers two-thirds of the estimated peatland area, including from previously undocumented river-influenced settings. We use field data from both countries to compute the first spatial models of peat thickness (mean 1.7 ± 0.9 m; maximum 5.6 m) and peat carbon density (mean 1,712 ± 634 MgC ha−1; maximum 3,970 MgC ha−1) for the central Congo Basin. We show that the peatland complex covers 167,600 km2, 36% of the world’s tropical peatland area, and that 29.0 PgC is stored below ground in peat across the region (95% confidence interval, 26.3–32.2 PgC). Our measurement-based constraints give high confidence of globally significant peat carbon stocks in the central Congo Basin, totalling approximately 28% of the world’s tropical peat carbon. Only 8% of this peat carbon lies within nationally protected areas, suggesting its vulnerability to future land-use change. 

History

Author affiliation

School of Physics & Astronomy, University of Leicester

Version

  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in

NATURE GEOSCIENCE

Volume

15

Issue

10

Pagination

639–644

Publisher

NATURE PORTFOLIO

issn

1752-0894

eissn

1752-0908

Language

English

Usage metrics

    University of Leicester Publications

    Categories

    Exports

    RefWorks
    BibTeX
    Ref. manager
    Endnote
    DataCite
    NLM
    DC