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For World Wetland Day 2022, we created a three part thread on why #Peatlands are hugely important for both wildlife & climate, and why they need our immediate attention.
Find PART ONE , PART TWO and PART THREE on our WCS_Canada Twitter account. Give us a follow!
#WorldWetlandsDay thread: PART ONE
Photo credit: Lorna Harris.
🤔 You may ask, what even are peatlands?
This explanation of this special wetland ecosystem can be found in our "Northern Peatlands in Canada" Story Map.
FACT 1: Canada is a world #Peatlands champion🏆 -- one-quarter of the world's peatlands are in Canada!
Map created by Meg Southee.
FACT 2: The Hudson Bay Lowland is the 2nd biggest peatland in the world!
Why do we care about wetlands?
These areas need care and respect because they store enormous amounts of carbon and keep it secured for 100s or even 1000s of years. The last thing we need now is that carbon in our atmosphere.
You can't mine peatlands and restore them in a few decades; it will take centuries and we really don’t have the time to wait for carbon to be recaptured.
Image credit: Lorna Harris.
#WorldWetlandsDay thread: PART TWO
PEATLANDS: Big, important and often overlooked. So let’s look more closely at the globally important Hudson Bay Lowlands.
Photo credit: Lorna Harris.
FACT :The Hudson Bay Lowland is bigger than UK and Ireland combined! It holds an estimated 35 gigatonnes of #carbon (that’s Giga with a G) and is one of the last intact #Peatland landscapes in the world.
Let's talk about the Ring of Fire
The Ring Of Fire gets lots of attention for minerals, however, it gets a lot less for its enormous carbon riches. The Ring of Fire holds an estimated 250 Mt of carbon! It’s 2000 sq km. of almost pure peat-- deep and very old.
Map created by WCS Canada.
The Hudson Bay Lowland also contains some of North America's last free flowing wild rivers. Rivers that are home to Lake Sturgeon and important to lots of other wildlife.
How are peatlands being impacted?
We have underestimated the climate threats to peatlands, particularly fire and drought and permafrost thaw. #Peatlands are being impacted now.
Pictured here is a permafrost peatland in northern Alberta that burned in 2019. Photo credit: Lorna Harris.
What should we do to save peatlands?
We need to take action now to better understand and conserve these areas. It's critical we look at the big picture, and not continue to chip away at peatlands one mine, road and hydro line at a time.
A powerline running through an intact boreal forest in Northern Ontario. Photo credit: Justina Ray.
A #WorldWetlandsDay thread: PART THREE
PEATLANDS: The people who know these special wetlands well. A First Nations perspective.
Photo credit: Mike Oldham.
First Nations are already seeing big changes in northern ecosystems. Changes to ice, snow, rain and wildlife are changing diets, safety and supply routes.
In some places, migratory birds are already being impacted.
“There is no sound of the tens of thousands of geese that we used to hear that were once there. There’s no sound. It’s very eerie you know, and quiet” - Vern Cheechoo
Tens of thousands of migratory birds use Hudson Bay Lowlands as a stopover on route to their wintering/ or breeding grounds. Photo credit: Amelia Macdonald.
In our COP26 presentation, Vern explains that it is much harder to read the ice and the weather now. It is increasingly dangerous. The ice roads are not lasting as long.
"We are the land, we are the waters, we are the environment. Whatever we do to the land, we do to ourselves." – Vern Cheechoo
Additionally, there are multiple communities that are downstream from potential Ring of Fire mines. They are very worried about water and wildlife impacts.
Marten Falls First Nation community. Photo credit: Jenni McDermid.
Want to know more about northern peatlands and what they do for us?
Watch our presentation at the COP-26 Global Peatlands Pavilion below:
Check out our Peatlands page here!
Photo credits: Banner | Lila Tauzer © WCS Canada