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02 de May del 2020

Climate change and peatlands: The scientific journal Science published a letter from researchers of UMAG

In December of 2019, a few days before to celebrate in Madrid, the Conference of United Nations about the Climate Change, COP25, the scientists from Universidad de Magallanes (UMAG) Jorge Hoyos Santillán and Armando Sepúlveda Jauregui, together with another three researchers from the country, signed and delivered a letter to the prestigious journal Science, entitled “Protecting Patagonian peatlands in Chile”, which was accepted and published in its volume 366 on Friday 06 of December.

According to a synthesis written in Spanish by the main author and postdoctoral researcher of the project NEXER–UMAG, Jorge Hoyos Santillán, the text approaches the topic of peatlands in Chile (which mostly are located in Magallanes), and the need in protecting them, both to help to stop the climate change and to contribute to the fulfillment of goals that Chile has committed, at global scale, regarding the carbon neutrality.

Until now the Chilean climatic strategies to capture carbon from the atmosphere, have been focused in the sustainable management and afforestation of 400.000 hectares, employing mainly industrial plantations of exotic trees (e. g., Pinus spp. Eucalyptus globulus)”, argue Hoyos, explaining that this method, “has been criticized by the scientific community, because the industrial plantations increase the incidence of forest fires, heighten the hydric stress, impact negatively in the biodiversity and cause social conflicts”.

Because of this, expose that “Chile counts with other ecosystems that act as carbon sinks: the peatlands from the Chilean Patagonia (TPC), that have an extension of 3.1 million of hectares and contain almost 4.800 million tones of carbon”. According to the scientist, the process of capture of carbon in the TPC started ≈ 18.000 years ago and, at present, contain 4.7 times more carbon that all the aerial biomass of the Chilean forests.

In conclusion, the message from the letter points that “to protect this resource in the Chilean Patagonia, could be an alternative to the immediate impact, contributing to reach the carbon neutrality in 2050”. And propose, immediately afterwards, that “this could be concreted by stopping considering the peatlands as a fossil resource or farming susceptible to exploitation, including explicitly its preservation as an integral component of the NDC (Nationally Determined Contributions) to which Chile will commit”. He even claims, “The preservation of the TPC can be granted through the Law of Climate Change, recognizing the relevance of its role as mitigating agents of the global climate change”.

It should be noted that this letter elaborated and signed by scientists of UMAG, is the text number 24 published in Science since 1975 corresponding to people with registration or work in Chile, which means that, according to the statistics, every two years one of these missives are published in this recognized international scientific journal.

inicio atrás arriba

Centro de Investigación GAIA Antártica

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Teléfono: +56 61 207180 • Email: patricia.jamett@umag.cl