Journal Highlights

A Better Way to Probe Peat

Research Spotlight—

Florida scientists use ground-penetrating radar to image underground carbon stores in the Disney Wilderness Preserve.

Millions of years before it can turn into coal, dead and decaying organic matter exists as a dark, spongy, carbon-rich material called peat. When layers of peat become saturated with water and sink lower into the earth, they create a type of wetland called a peatland. Peatlands sequester a sizable fraction of the world’s carbon, including 95% of all wetland stores.

Although many scientific studies have investigated vast peatlands found in northern forests and the sub-Arctic, smaller, freshwater peatlands in tropical and temperate regions remain comparatively unexamined. Peatlands in these lower regions could play an important role in global carbon storage if adequately protected. Although land use changes, such as agricultural and urban expansion, threaten the existence of these peatlands, researchers estimate that temperate climates contain at least 20% of all peatland carbon....more

-- Sarah Witman, Freelance Writer,