Impacts of wildfire and permafrost thaw on carbon cycling in peatland-rich catchments in boreal western Canada.
Northern peatlands store globally significant amounts of soil carbon, and are located in regions undergoing the most rapid climate change. Two disturbances that are likely to strongly influence the future greenhouse gas exchange of northern peatlands are permafrost thaw and wildfire. Both of these disturbances are common and likely increasing in occurrence in the western boreal forest. Here I will give examples from recent and ongoing research on effects and interactions of wildfire and permafrost thaw on carbon cycling from peatland complexes along a latitudinal gradient from continuous to sporadic permafrost along the Mackenzie valley in western Canada. The studies focus on both peat plateaus, thermokarst bogs and thermokarst ponds, and has found both settings where the carbon storage is inert and vulnerable to future climate change. Our research focuses both on the greenhouse gas exchange of these ecosystems and their downstream export of dissolved organic matter.
Feb26 3:30 PMC WLU