New map reveals more peat in the tropics

Key messages

  • A new global wetlands map, which uses a multisource approach (satellite, climatic and topographic data) and is underpinned by an expert system model with high spatial detail (232 x 232 m2), is now available. The map suggests that much more peat exists in the tropics than was previously reported.
  • Unprecedented areas and volumes of peatlands, three times the size of previous estimates, are identified in the tropics, mainly outside Asia.
  • Brazil emerges to be the main host of peat areas and volumes, closely followed by Indonesia.
  • Tropical and sub-tropical peatland-hosting countries in all continents can use the map to direct, locate and prioritize conservation and management of wetlands and peatlands in the context of climate change mitigation and adaptation.
  • Scientific engagement should be continued through intensive field campaigns to validate these new peat hotspots; the interactive map will facilitate this process.

Authors: Murdiyarso, D.; Román-Cuesta, R.M.; Verchot, L.V.; Herold, M.; Gumbricht, T.; Herold, N.; Martius, C.;

Topic: wetlands, peatlands, mapping, carbon, climate change

Series: CIFOR Infobrief no. 189

Pages: 8p

Publisher: Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Bogor, Indonesia

PublicationYear: 2017



Founding member states
Republic of Indonesia Republic of the Congo Democratic Republic of the Congo
Coordinating partners
Ministry of Environment and Forestry Republic of Indonesia CIFOR UN Environment FAO