Exploring the limits of peatland stability using a peat accumulation model


The 21st century climate change and land-use pressure are likely to subject northern peatlands to climatic conditions and a frequency of disturbances not previously experienced in the Holocene. Northern peatland carbon stocks are large and potentially vulnerable, since several key climatic variables that are expected to change (i.e., precipitation, potential evapotranspiration, temperature, growing season duration, fire, permafrost thaw) influence peatland net carbon exchange, either directly or via hydrological or vegetation feedbacks. However, the vulnerability of peatlands to external forcing is not well understood, and the widespread persistence of peatlands and net peatland carbon accumulation through the Holocene indicates that peatlands have some degree of inherent stability. We explore the individual and cumulative impacts of external drivers of changes and disturbances on the carbon balance of different types of northern peatlands using the Holocene Peat Model (HPM; Frolking et al. 2010), and compare some of the results to the paleoecological records of disturbed peatlands.


Earth Sciences, Earth Systems Research Center

Publication Date


Journal Title

Fall Meeting, American Geophysical Union (AGU)


American Geophysical Union Publications

Document Type

Conference Proceeding