The 14th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Wetlands closed on Sunday. At a forum on peatland conservation held at the main venue, in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, representatives from the National Forestry and Grassland Bureau said that in the future, the protection and restoration of peat mire will be increased.
Peat is a special organic matter formed by the slow decomposition of the remains of above-ground plants after they have been buried for tens of millions of years, under conditions of low temperatures, little rain or lack of air. A peatland is a wetland with a peat thickness of at least 30 cm or an organic matter carbon content of more than 12 percent; and peat mire refers to a wetland with peat distribution.
Peat and peat mire not only absorb carbon dioxide, but also store a large amount of undecomposed organic matter to prevent the carbon inside from returning to the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide.
Normally, peatlands form at a rate of less than 1 mm per year and it takes tens of millions of years to form a peatland of a certain size. However, it takes only 10 days to drain a peat mire. Once a peat mire is drained, the damage is irreversible.
China's peat mires are mainly located in areas like the Daxing'an Mountain and Xiaoxing'an Mountain, the Changbai Mountains, the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, and the Altai Mountains. By establishing wetland-type national parks, peatlands can be protected and ecological restoration can be carried out.
As one of the parties to the Convention on Wetlands, which has one of the highest organic carbon reserves of peatlands in the world, China attaches great importance to peat mire protection and management. The Wetland Protection Law, which came into effect on June 1 this year, completely prohibits extraction in peat mire and prohibits the storage and discharge of water from peat mire to the outside.
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