A vast swamp forest in Central Africa contains enough carbon to equal two decades’ worth of U.S. fossil fuel emissions, scientists have found.

The Congo Basin peatland — an area larger than New York State — has accumulated around 30 billion metric tons of carbon over the last 11,000 years, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

The discovery makes the fate of this vast carbon sink an important consideration for climate projections and land conservationists.

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A team of U.K. and Congolese researchers spent three years roaming the Cuvette Centrale peatland to find samples of peat to test in their labs. They also analyzed satellite data to estimate the amount of carbon stored in the soil. …

More about Peat Fires, Fossil Fuel Emissions, Tropical Forest, Gorillas, and Malaysia

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