Chinese Bulletin of Botany ›› 2022, Vol. 57 ›› Issue (5): 559-578.DOI: 10.11983/CBB22031

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Peat Mosses (Sphagnum): Ecologically, Economically, and Scientifically Important Group of Carbon Sequestration Plants

Zhu Ruiliang*()   

  1. School of Life Sciences, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, China
  • Received:2022-02-22 Accepted:2022-05-10 Online:2022-09-01 Published:2022-09-09
  • Contact: Zhu Ruiliang
  • About author:*E-mail:

Abstract: Global warming is the most severe environmental challenge that mankind is facing now. In addition to effectively controlling carbon emissions, making the ecosystem work at full capacity of carbon sequestration is an important means to achieve the goal of carbon neutralization. As one of the wetland types with the highest carbon sequestration capacity, peatland is the key terrestrial ecosystem to accelerate the achievement of carbon neutrality goals. As the ‘effective ecosystem engineer’ on peatlands, peat moss (Sphagnum) plays an extremely important role in peatlands, such as carbon sink, freshwater filtering, and land protection from flooding. For more than 100 years, peat mosses, as the most economically valuable group of bryophytes, have been widely used in the fields of medicine and health care, pollution monitoring and wastewater treatment, especially in the horticultural industry as one of the most reliable soil media and moisturizing materials. In the context of global warming and the ‘two-carbon’ goal, peat moss is a research hotspot in life sciences and ecology. This paper mainly reviews the morphology, species diversity and origin, habitat and distribution, reproduction and protection, cultivation and planting, environmental indication and monitoring, usage and applications, capabilities of carbon sequestration, water storage and acidification. It provides a reference for peat moss research, peatland protection and restoration, as well as development, utilization, and industrial development of peat moss.

Key words: Sphagnum farming, global warming, bryophyte utilization, peatland, carbon neutralization