Date of Award

Fall 2013

Project Type


Program or Major

Earth Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Steve Frolking


Peatlands play an important role in the global climate system and carbon cycle; their large carbon stocks could be released to the atmosphere due to climate change or disturbance, resulting in increased climate forcing. I modified the Holocene Peat Model (HPM), a process-based model coupling water and carbon balance for simulating carbon dynamic over millennia, to be applicable for tropical peatlands.

HPMTrop outputs are generally consistent with the field observations from Indonesia. The simulated long-term carbon accumulation rate for coastal and inland peatlands were 0.63 and 0.26 Mg C ha-1 y -1, and the resulting peat carbon stocks at the end of the simulations were 3,150 Mg C ha-1 and 3,270 Mg C ha-1, respectively. The simulated carbon loss for the coastal scenario caused by forest conversion to oil palm plantation with periodic burning was 1,500 Mg C ha-1 y-1over 100 years, which is equivalent to ∼3,000 years of peat accumulation.