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Peatlands and the carbon cycle: from local processes to global implications ? a synthesis

Abstract : Although peatlands cover only 3% of the Earth's land surface, boreal and subarctic peatlands store about 15?30% of the world's soil carbon as peat. Despite their potential for large positive feedbacks to the climate system through sequestration and emission of greenhouse gases, peatlands are not explicitly included in global climate models and therefore in predictions of future climate change. In April 2007 a symposium was held in Wageningen, the Netherlands, to advance our understanding of peatland C cycling through integration across disciplines and research approaches and to develop a more synthetic picture of the present and future role of peatlands in the global C cycle and their interactions with the climate system. This paper aims to synthesize the main findings of the symposium, focusing on (i) small-scale processes, (ii) C fluxes at the landscape scale, and (iii) peatlands and climate. The paper concludes with a summary of the main drivers of the C balance of peatlands, and proposes directions for new research to reduce key uncertainties in our knowledge of C cycling in peatlands in order to facilitate the explicit inclusion of these ecosystems in a new generation of earth system models.
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Submitted on : Friday, April 4, 2008 - 8:00:00 AM
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  • HAL Id : hal-00297992, version 1

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J. Limpens, F. Berendse, C. Blodau, J. G. Canadell, C. Freeman, et al.. Peatlands and the carbon cycle: from local processes to global implications ? a synthesis. Biogeosciences Discussions, European Geosciences Union, 2008, 5 (2), pp.1379-1419. ⟨hal-00297992⟩

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