Swamplands such as peatlands, bogs, fens, marshes, and swamps have been demonized and dismissed as dismal, unhealthy “wastelands,” with little ecological value. But these underappreciated ecosystems are home to many rare and newly discovered species They also play a critical role in mitigating floods, filtering water, slowing wildfires, and regulating climate change. These ancient peatlands have cooled the planet for thousands of years. If the world’s peatlands are disturbed and degraded as they have been in many parts of the world, they will release rather than store carbon, accelerating the warming that is already taking place.
The Hudson Bay Lowlands comprise one of the largest intact natural peatlands left on the planet. Some parts of this vast region store 4 to 5x’s more carbon than the equivalent area in the Amazon Rainforest. Currently, there are more than 17,000 active mining claims held by 18 companies and individuals in the Lowlands known as the Ring of Fire.
The Omushkego Cree, the Indigenous people who have lived in this area for thousands of years, know the importance of these ancient peatlands. The Mushkegowuk Council, the senior representative for 7 First Nations in the northern James Bay and Hudson Bay region, is working on a conservation plan for part of the Lowlands. The National Audubon Society, Wildlands League, and other nonprofits are working with them to make that happen.
Join the conversation to better appreciate why we should preserve our peatlands. Learn how the Mushkegowuk Council of Hudson Bay Lowlands are leading in understanding and communicating the importance of these globally significant sites in the face of many competing interests.
- Edward Struzik, author of Swamplands, as well as Future Arctic and Firestorm
- Vern Cheechoo, Director of Lands and Resources, Mushkegowuk Council
- Anna Baggio, Director of Conservation, Wildlands League •
- Moderated by Jeff Wells, Vice President for Boreal Conservation at Audubon