High-intensity fires can destroy marshy peatlands and cause them to emit huge amounts of their stored carbon into the atmosphere as greenhouse gases, but a new Duke University study finds low-severity fires spark the opposite outcome. By creating a decay-inhibiting crust on clumps of moist soil particles within the peatland, the smaller surface fires help protect the stored carbon and enhance peatlands’ long-term storage of it, even during times of extreme drought.
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