“Can we ‘engineer’ peatlands to save the planet from global warming?”

Date Wednesday 21 August 2019
Time 12pm - 1pm
Where S.1.02
Presenter Professor Chris Freeman
Contact Fiona Martin
Contact email
Admission Cost Free

In an investigation of strategies for enhancing carbon sequestration in wetlands, we have shown that a variety of novel approaches hold potential as modifiers of global carbon sequestration capacity. Peat-accumulating wetlands (peatlands), have higher C-storage densities per unit ecosystem area than either the oceans or dry terrestrial systems. Peatlands cover just 2-3% of the Earth’s landmass and yet store 455Pg of C, or almost 1/3 of world soil carbon. The remarkable preservation of ancient organic archaeological artefacts, such as bog bodies, further attest to their exceptional preservative properties. Past studies demonstrate that peatlands sequester carbon due to the inhibitory effects of phenolic compounds which create an ‘enzymic latch’ on decomposition.Here we show the potential for harnessing that mechanism in a series of peatland-engineering strategies in which molecular, biogeochemical, agronomical and afforestation approaches, increase carbon capture and long-term sequestration in peat-forming wetland ecosystems. Our studies consider the significance of the sequestration-enhancement approach in both natural and restored ecosystems, and in the prevention of destabilisation of ancient carbon stores following human impacts.

Come along and listen to Professor Chris Freeman, Professor of Peatland Biogeochemistry at Bangor University.

Everyone is welcome.