Global Challenges Academy

Tropical Peatlands

Tropical Peatlands

Peatlands cover less than three percent of the Earth's surface but are the world's largest terrestrial carbon store, containing twice as much carbon as the world's forests. Our researchers and partners are working to tackle peatland degradation through global multidisciplinary research and policy initiatives and collaborations.


Coming soon.


Our partners

  • Global Environment Center, Malaysia
  • Marien N'Gouabi University, Republic of Congo CIFOR, Peru
  • CIFOR, Indonesia
  • CORBIDI-IMCG Centro de Ornitología y Biodiversidad, Santiago de Surco,
  • Peru Sarawak Tropical Peat Research Institute
  • Malaysia Palangka Raya University
  • Indonesia FAO-Indonesia UN Environment Programme, Kenya
  • Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical
  • Columbia Universiti Putra,
  • Malaysia Shahrood University of Technology
  • Iran Ton Duc Thang University
  • Vietnam Instituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonia Peruana
  • Peru Instituto de Investigaciones Científicas y Servicios de Alta Tecnología
  • Panama Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
  • Panama Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia World Agroforestry (ICRAF)
  • Kenya Institut Teknologi Bandung, Indonesia Indonesian Soil Research Institute
  • Ministry of Agriculture, Indonesia
  • CIFOR-CGIAR,Indonesia and Peru
  • National University of Mongolia Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
  • Greifswld University ICMG
  • University of Leicester
  • University of Leeds Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
  • Michigan Tech University & US Forest Service School of Life Sciences
  • Arizona State University,
  • USA University of the Sunshine Coast
  • Australia Conservation International
  • USA Chiba University
  • Japan Deltares
  • The Netherlands University of Helsinki
  • Natural England
  • University of Oxford
  • University College London, UK
  • University of Cambridge
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • University of Queensland
  • Australia Foundations of Sucess - improving conservation (USA)
  • Centre for Evidence-Based Conservation, Bangor University, UK
  • Wageningen University, The Netherlands
  • Monash University, Australia
  • Hokkaido University, Japan
  • Oxford Brookes University, UK
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
  • Kyoto University, Japan
  • University of St Andrews, UK
  • University of Nottingham, UK
  • Liverpool John Moores University, UK
  • University of Glasgow, UK
  • Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet, Germany
  • Hitotsubashi University, Japan
  • Kings College London, UK
  • Columbia University, USA
  • University of Birmingham, UK
  • James Cook University, Australia

Newcastle University staff

  • Professor Mark Reed (Network Leader)
  • Dr Gav Stewart
  • Dr Dylan Young
  • Professor Mark Whittingham


Global challenge

Greenhouse gas emissions from drained or burned peatlands account for five percent of the global carbon budget. The majority of these come from tropical peatlands, where high rates of deforestation, drainage and high temperatures speed up decomposition of the drained peat. Peatland degradation is both a cause and effect of climate change, and interacts with climate risks to threaten the livelihoods of some of the world's most remote and impoverished communities.

How we're making a difference 

Newcastle University is tackling these challenges in collaboration with the UN Global Peatlands Initiative:

  • We chaired the UN Global Peatlands Initiative Research Funding Working Group
  • Lead work to develop international standards for the collection of peatland research and monitoring data
  • Monitored and reported compliance with peatland resolutions passed by UN Environment Assembly and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
  • Reporting compliance with UN resolutions on peatlands, and contributing to the forthcoming UN Global Peatland Assessment.


Read and download our publications: