Scientists: Swampy forest in Central Africa is storehouse for carbon dioxide

The Peatland, which consists of slowly decomposing vegetation in swamp forests, has been accumulating for over 10,000 years.

Picture: Supplied.

PRETORIA – Scientists have mapped a swampy forest in central Africa the size of Britain they say is a storehouse for carbon dioxide.

The Peatland in the Congo basin holds about 30 billion metric tons of carbon which is roughly equivalent to two decades of fossil fuel emissions in the United States.

The peat, which consists of slowly decomposing vegetation in swamp forests, has been accumulating for more than 10,000 years.

It stretches from the Democratic Republic of Congo into the Central African Republic.

Author of a study published in the Journal Nature, Simon Lewis, says it’s astonishing that in 2017 these kinds of discoveries can be made.

Lewis, a professor at the University of Leeds, worked on a hunch that he had found peat in the wetlands known as the Cuvette Centrale.

The vegetation, which is waterlogged year-round, lacks oxygen and other nutrients that would lead to its quick decomposition.

(Edited by leeto M Khoza)