Peatlands are found on all continents, however, uncertainties regarding their size and exact locations are very high. Horticulture is the main user of peat in the Netherlands. Compared to other terrestrial ecosystems, peatlands are the most space-effective carbon stocks. Annual emissions of carbon dioxide from peat import for Dutch horticulture is between 0.2 and 0.3 Mt. Climate change will considerably increase most problems associated with peat soils in the Netherlands. It is difficult to establish a correlation between economic activities within the Netherlands and exploitation of tropical peatland. Of the products imported into the Netherlands palm oil perhaps is the most threatening to tropical peatlands. Given the increasing demand from, for example, India and China, the main challenge is to meet this demand without clearing forests, reclaiming peatland, or exploiting other carbon stocks.
This study is performed within the framework of the programme Scientific Assessment and Policy Analysis for Climate Change (WAB)