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Southeast Asia

Climate change could damage the fragile zones, causing major carbon emissions.

Researchers have found one of the last undisturbed tropical peat forests, in the nation of Brunei on the island of Borneo.  Photo: Courtesy of the researchers

The researchers were able to see how peatlands function under normal conditions, to provide a baseline for better understanding as the lands change.

Tropical peat swamp forests, which once occupied large swaths of Southeast Asia and other areas, provided a significant “sink” that helped remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. But such forests have been disappearing fast due to clear-cutting and drainage projects making way for plantations. Now, research shows peatlands face another threat, as climate change alters rainfall patterns, potentially destroying even forested peatlands that remain undrained.

Read more: Peatlands, already dwindling, could face further losses

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The Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement last week was regarded as a step backward for Alaska.

Lione Clare presenting her photo story to fellow Sitkans. (Photo by Cameron Clark/KCAW)Following the president’s decision, Gov. Bill Walker announced that “Alaskans know our landscape is changing at an accelerating pace. We are experiencing social and economic upheaval caused by shrinking sea ice, rising sea level, increasing intensity of storms, and increasing coastal erosion.” And it’s not just Alaska. A college student from Sitka is exploring how climate change is affecting Southeast Asia too.

Read more: Sitkan focuses lens on climate change in Southeast Asia

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The world’s nations met at Marrakech to map out implementation of the Paris Agreement. Photo: Center for International Forestry Research/Grace Wong

The implications of international agreements on the ten countries that make up the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and their extensive forests was explained at an Experts Dialogue in Indonesia

Read more: From Paris to Marrakech: forests, climate change and REDD+ in Southeast Asia

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