Scientists warn of climate impact from drying wetlands

The evaporation and ongoing destruction of wetlands around the world could cause the release of huge volumes of greenhouse gases, scientists meeting in Brazil have warned.

Covering just 6% of the planet’s land surface, wetlands store 10% to 20% of its terrestrial carbon, a report in Science Daily said.

But rising temperatures are speeding rates of decomposition of trapped organic material and threatening critical sources of wetlands recharge by melting glaciers and reducing precipitation, it added.

"Humanity in many parts of the world needs a wake-up call to fully appreciate the vital environmental, social and economic services wetlands provide — absorbing and holding carbon, moderating water levels, supporting biodiversity and countless others," said Paulo Teixeira, co-chair of the conference in the city of Cuiaba, on the edge of Pantanal, the world’s largest area of wetlands.

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