A recent paper from the journal Nature Geoscience outlines the threat of drying peatlands across the globe and their increased vulnerability to fire and carbon loss. The work was highlighted in a public release last week from the AAAS bulletin Eurekalert.org:
"Peatlands - which make up around three-percent of the Earth's land surface and store approximately 25-percent of the world's soil carbon - are deposits of plant material and organic matter mixed with soil that is too wet to support high levels of decomposition. Peatlands are found on all seven continents.
Already the largest fires on Earth in terms of their carbon footprint, these smoldering fires burn through thick layers of peat, built up over thousands of years, which blanket the ground in ecosystems ranging from the tropics to the arctic."