Climate change impacts on peatland carbon cycling

Boreal peatlands are predicted to become drier and warmer under climate change scenarios and this has the potential to alter carbon stocks and fluxes. We are undertaking ecosystem scale water table draw down experiments and plot scale warming to investigate the potential effects of climate change on peatland vegetation communities, soil properties, hydrology and carbon exchange. Spatial variability of this response between peatland microforms is also being investigated.

A man standing in treed bog.

Boreal peatland near Wandering River, Alberta was the site of a water table drawdown and warming experiment 2010-2013

A poor fen.

Water table drawdown in a Quebec bog has resulted in colonization of wet areas by Sphagnum moss


Related publications:

  • Macrae ML, Devito KJ, Strack M, Waddington JM. 2012. Effect of water table drawdown on peatland nutrient dynamics: implications for climate change. Biogeochemistry, doi: 10.1007/s10533-012-9730-3.
  • Munir TM, Xu B, Perkins M, Strack M. 2014. Responses of carbon dioxide fluxes and plant biomass to water table drawdown in a treed peatland in northern Alberta: a climate change perspective, Biogeosciences, 11, 807-820.
  • Strack M, Waddington JM, Bourbonniere RA, Buckton EL, Shaw K, Whittington P, Price JS. 2008. Effect of water table drawdown on peatland dissolved organic carbon export and dynamics. Hydrological Processes, doi: 10.1002/hyp.6931.
  • Strack M, Waddington JM. 2007. Response of peatland carbon dioxide and methane fluxes to a water table drawdown experiments. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 21, GB1007, doi: 10.1029/2006GB002715.
  • Strack M, Waddington JM, Rochefort L, Tuittila, E-S. 2006. Response of vegetation and carbon dioxide exchange at different peatland microforms following water table drawdown. Journal of Geophysical Research – Biogeosciences, 111, G02006, doi: 10.1029/2005JG000145.
  • Strack M, Waller MF, Waddington JM. 2006. Sedge succession and peatland methane dynamics: A potential feedback to climate change. Ecosystems, 9, 278-287, doi: 10.1007/s10021-005-0070-1.
  • Strack M, Waddington JM, Tuittila E-S. 2004. The effect of water table drawdown on northern peatland methane emissions: Implications for climate change. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 18, GB4003, doi: 10.1029/2003GB002209.