The world's wetlands, threatened by development, dehydration and climate
change, could release a planet-warming "carbon bomb" if they are destroyed,
ecological scientists said on Sunday.
Wetlands contain 771 billion tons of greenhouse gases, one-fifth of all the
carbon on Earth and about the same amount of carbon as is now in the atmosphere,
the scientists said before an international conference linking wetlands and
If all the wetlands on the planet released the carbon they hold, it would
contribute powerfully to the climate-warming greenhouse effect, said Paulo
Teixeira, coordinator of the Pantanal Regional Environment Program in Brazil.
"We could call it the carbon bomb," Teixeira said by telephone from Cuiaba,
Brazil, site of the conference. "It's a very tricky situation."
Some 700 scientists from 28 nations are meeting this week at the INTECOL