Recent paludification rates and effects on total ecosystem carbon storage in two boreal peatlands of Northeast European Russia
2014 (English)In: The Holocene, ISSN 0959-6836, E-ISSN 1477-0911, Vol. 24, no 9, 1126-1136 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Forest and peatland ecosystems constitute the two major carbon pools in the boreal region. We assess the evolution in total storage and partitioning of ecosystem carbon following recent paludification of forest into peatland at two sites in Northeast European Russia. Based on radiocarbon dating of basal peat and quantification of total ecosystem carbon storage, our results show that paludification rates and its consequences for carbon storage vary significantly between sites. A peatland expanding on ground with steeper slopes has experienced a slow lateral advance in recent times, about 2.6 m on average per century, whereas a peatland in flatter terrain has expanded much more rapidly, about 35 m on average per century. The total ecosystem carbon storage (sum of phytomass, top soil organics or peat, and 30 cm of underlying mineral soil) showed a long-term trend toward increased ecosystem C storage following the replacement of forest (mean value = 20.8 kg C/m(2), range = 13.0-43.4 kg C/m(2)) by peatland (>100 kg C/m(2) in the deepest peat deposits). However, the transitional stage in which the forest is replaced by the margin of the peatland results in a short-term decrease of carbon stored in the ecosystem with a mean loss of 7.5 kg C/m(2). After the initiation of a peatland through paludification, a period of decades to centuries of peat accumulation is needed to compensate for the initial loss of carbon. In the short term, an intensification of the paludification process could lead to a loss of carbon stored in the boreal region.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 24, no 9, 1126-1136 p.
boreal forest, carbon storage, ecotone, expansion rate, late Holocene, paludification, peatland, peatland margins
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-108725DOI: 10.1177/0959683614523803ISI: 000342578200010OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-108725DiVA: diva2:760648