Response of vegetation and carbon accumulation to changes in precipitation and water table depths in two bogs during the Holocene: a modelling exercise


To assess the influence of hydrological changes on northern peatland ecosystems, we analysed the response of the Holocene Peat Model (HPM, Frolking et al. 2010), designed to simulate peatland development at millennial timescale, to two hydrological settings, based on precipitation and water table depths reconstructions. The studied sites are two open ombrotrophic peatlands located in the James Bay Lowlands in Northeastern Canada. For both sites, two simulations were realised: one based on a precipitation reconstruction from pollen data, used as input in the model, and a second using a water table depth reconstruction derived from testate amoebae to apply a water table forcing on the model. Simulated variations in carbon accumulation rates (CAR) and vegetation composition were analysed against the palaeoecological datasets. Results in CAR in both sites and hydrological settings showed periods of net carbon loss, which coincided with fluctuations in observed CAR, though they cannot be traced in palaeoecological datasets. The comparison between plant macrofossils records and simulated vegetation distributions highlighted differences between precipitation and water table depth driven simulations that can be used to distinguish the origin of vegetation shifts. The methodology used could thus be useful in paleoecological studies when two or more proxies are available.


Earth Sciences, Earth Systems Research Center

Publication Date


Journal Title

Fall Meeting, American Geophysical Union (AGU)


American Geophysical Union Publications

Document Type

Conference Proceeding