Peat carbon reactivity: process modeling and regional upscaling


Future climate uncertainties highlight the need to develop biogeochemical-hydrological models to identify, evaluate, and predict the major controls on carbon and nutrient cycling in peatland soils under anthropogenic disturbances. In this project activity, we aim to improve our conceptual and quantitative understanding of the function of soil biogeochemical processes that regulate the changes in carbon and nutrient driven by variations in anthropogenic disturbances. We mainly focus on regional scale evaluation of carbon stocks and reactivity sub-models that can be incorporated into the Canadian Model for Peatlands (CaMP) (and eventually the Carbon Budget Model of the Canadian Forest Sector) by greenhouse gas emission-related data in the models. The data (e.g., aboveground biomass, belowground biomass, litter, dead wood and soil organic carbon) from the compilation of peatland datasets for selected regional scale peatland catchments, coupled to the past and ongoing data, will be integrated into a coupled biogeochemistry-hydrology model, which will yield a better representation of soil carbon stocks.

Activity Outline

  • Develop reactive transport sub-models that evaluate the biogeochemical transformations of carbon and nutrients in peatlands under examples of anthropogenic disturbances and climatic scenarios to estimate the changes in carbon stocks and budgets for the future peatland ecosystems carbon balances
  • Incorporate outputs of these sub-models into the CaMP, and possibly McGill Wetlands Model to improve regional to national estimates of net ecosystem exchange and carbon emissions for application at multiple scales and for spatially-referenced and spatially-explicit modelling approaches
  • Build a user-friendly interface for the carbon mass balance model, hence transforming it into an important knowledge transfer tool