Thursday, August 26, 2021

A Peatland Study of Carbon

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Global Warming, Global Climate Change, Nature 

Ed Hessler

The US Forest Service has a short research report on a peatland study done in northern Minnesota.

From the report:

--The research was done on a 20-acre (8.09 ha) bog in the Marcell Experimental Forest

--Stephen Sebestyen, a research hydrologist and one of the collaborator's on the study said that "what this (study) turns out to be is, the world's largest climate change experiment."

There are five key management considerations.

  • Peatlands make up 3 percent of the Earth's landmass yet store a third of global soil carbon because of the cool, wet, and acidic conditions.
  • Research from SPRUCE, the first experiment to use whole ecosystem manipulation to study the effects of climate change on peatlands, reveals that warmed bogs flip from carbon sinks to sources, releasing carbon at 5 to nearly 20 times the rate of historical accumulation. (SPRUCE is the acronynm tor the Spruce and Peatland Responses Under Changing Environments)

  • The warmest bog plots experienced the greatest carbon losses, with peat elevation decreasing by as much as 3.9 inches.
  • Warming caused a dramatic shift in bog plant communities, with a near total loss of Sphagnum moss, a crucial keystone species for peatlands.
  • The results from SPRUCE are being integrated into Earth Systems Models to help scientists better assess future climate scenarios and mitigation and adaptation strategies.

You may read the full Rooted in Research brief here. In addition, you can download a PDF.

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