Long-term stability of permafrost in subarctic peat plateaus, west-central Canada
2008 (English)In: The Holocene, ISSN 0959-6836, E-ISSN 1477-0911, Vol. 18, no 4, 589-601 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Long-term vegetation succession and permafrost dynamics in subarctic peat plateaus of west-central Canada have been studied through detailed plant macrofossil analysis and extensive AMS radiocarbon dating of two peat profiles. Peatland inception at these sites occurred around 5800-5100 yr BP (6600-5900 cal. BP) as a result of paludification of upland forests. At the northern peat plateau site, located in the continuous permafrost zone, palaeobotanical evidence suggests that permafrost was already present under the forested upland prior to peatland development. Paludification was initiated by permafrost collapse, but re-aggradation of permafrost occurred soon after peatland inception. At the southern site, located in the discontinuous permafrost zone, the aggradation of permafrost occurred soon after peatland inception. In the peat plateaus, permafrost conditions have remained very stable until present. Sphagnum fuscum-dominated stages have alternated with more xerophytic communities characterized by ericaceous shrubs. Local peat fires have occurred, but most of these did not cause degradation of the permafrost. Starting from 2800-1100 yr BP (2900-1000 cal. BP) consistently dry surface conditions have prevailed, possibly related to continued frost heave or nearby polygon crack formation.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 18, no 4, 589-601 p.
peatlands, peat plateau, permafrost, fire, macrofossils, vegetation succession, radiocarbon dating, subarctic, Canada, Holocene
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-16208DOI: 10.1177/0959683608089658ISI: 000256882300008OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-16208DiVA: diva2:182728