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PEATLANDS

Peatlands are now recognized as valuable pools of sequestered C and their response to predicting potential feedbacks on the global C cycle becomes crucial (Belya and Malmer, 2004; 2006; Rydin and Jeglum, 2006; Yu, 2006).

The key to C accumulation in peatlands is not high net primary production (NPP) but low decomposition. Indeed, highest C sequestration is in ombrotrophic bogs, which have low NPP. Therefore, high research priority should be given to how the constraints to decomposition in these environments are sensitive to climate (Bragazza et al. 2009; Davidson & Janssens 2006).

One scenario is the accelerated decomposition of organic matter and the resulting increase of greenhouse gases (GHG: CO2 and CH4) in the atmosphere. Northern hemisphere peatlands contain about 1/3 of the world’s soil C stock in an area accounting for only 3–5% of the global land surface (Frolking and Roulet, 2007; Turunen et al., 2002). Sphagnum-dominated peatlands are primarily situated in Boreal and Subarctic areas and are expected to experience large climate changes in the coming century, making the identification and quantification of potential feedbacks from these high-latitude ecosystems essential for future climate projections (IPPC re-ports). Ombrotrophic peatlands in particular, are also excellent recorders of paleohydrologic change, thus providing evidences of regional precipitation/evaporation balance. This makes these environments important candidates for reconstructing past climate changes.

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CLIMPEAT Project

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Experimental setting and environmental monitoring
Vegetation monitoring, plant standing biomass, net primary production and total nutrient content in plants

Microbial biomass and microbial diversity

Soil enzymatic activities

Micrometeorology, carbon accumulation, soil respiration and litter decomposition

Microcosm experiment (Neuchâtel)

Drought palaeohydrology and carbon accumulation during the last 1000 years

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