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Preserving carbon sinks using geospatial data

Using geospatial data can help preserve our carbon sinks, mitigating climate change.

Space-enabled technological advances, using geospatial data, are being used for peatlands monitoring and climate action.

Peatlands are a type of wetlands that occur in almost every country on Earth, currently covering 3% of the global land surface. They preserve global biodiversity, provide safe drinking water, minimise flood risk and help address climate change.

Peatlands are known as carbon sinks - but what is a carbon sink?

Critically, peatlands are the largest natural carbon store on land. These ‘carbon sinks’ store more carbon than all other vegetation types in the world combined. Their preservation is essential.

Meandering river through wetlands
Peatlands are the largest natural carbon store on land - also known as carbon sinks

Case study: preserving carbon storage in peatlands is vital

Peatlands occupy a sizeable 12% of the UK’s land area. However, 86% of the UKs peatlands have been degraded due to human activity, vastly decreasing their capacity for carbon storage, affecting biodiversity, and adding to greenhouse gas emissions when peat is burned for heat.

At Ordnance Survey we're working with Assimila, Space 4 Climate and Durham University, and the University of Leicester to use geospatial data collaboratively to help monitor, protect, and preserve peatlands. This will ensure that these vital carbon stores continue to take in carbon dioxide and reduce the overall levels of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere helping to eventually halt climate change. 

How can we protect carbon sinks?

Peatlands will continue to be monitored, preserved, and used for carbon offsetting. Protecting peatlands will allow them to build up naturally over time, increasing capacity for carbon sequestration. As peatland restoration can bring significant emissions reductions, the United Nations is encouraging countries to include peatland restoration in their climate change commitments.

Talk to us about your sustainability goals

We can help any nation or organisation use geospatial data and know-how to put in place innovative sustainability solutions so that we can all see a better place.

Contact us today