Advanced

Sensitivity of peatland carbon loss to organic matter quality

Leifeld, Jens; Steffens, Markus and Gallego-Sala, Angela LU (2012) In Geophysical Research Letters 39. p.14704-14704
Abstract
Peatland soils store substantial amounts of organic matter (OM). During peat formation, easily decomposable OM is preferentially lost and more recalcitrant moieties accumulate. In a peat profile, OM quality thus scales with depth. Drainage and ongoing climate change poses the risk of rapid OM loss when formerly anoxic peat layers oxidize. During peat decomposition, deeper, more recalcitrant peat is exposed to the oxygen-rich surface, which may influence the decomposition rate. We show that the soil respiration rate of a disturbed temperate peatland is strongly controlled by the peat's quality and especially its polysaccharides content. The polysaccharide content of soil profiles in a wider range of peatland sites with differing degrees of... (More)
Peatland soils store substantial amounts of organic matter (OM). During peat formation, easily decomposable OM is preferentially lost and more recalcitrant moieties accumulate. In a peat profile, OM quality thus scales with depth. Drainage and ongoing climate change poses the risk of rapid OM loss when formerly anoxic peat layers oxidize. During peat decomposition, deeper, more recalcitrant peat is exposed to the oxygen-rich surface, which may influence the decomposition rate. We show that the soil respiration rate of a disturbed temperate peatland is strongly controlled by the peat's quality and especially its polysaccharides content. The polysaccharide content of soil profiles in a wider range of peatland sites with differing degrees of disturbance was inferred by means of solid-state C-13 NMR and DRIFT spectroscopy. The data confirmed a strong decline in polysaccharide content with depth and a poor OM quality of surface peat in soils drained decades ago. We combined the evidence from respiration and spectroscopic measurements to deduce the sensitivity of peatland carbon loss with respect to OM quality by scaling measured quality to a 142-years record of peatland subsidence and carbon loss at one of the sites. According to the functional relationship between quality and respiration, the measured average annual carbon loss rate of 2.5 t C ha(-1) at that site was 20 t C ha(-1) at the onset of peatland drainage and dropped to less than 1 t C ha(-1) in recent times. Citation: Leifeld, J., M. Steffens, and A. Galego-Sala (2012), Sensitivity of peatland carbon loss to organic matter quality, Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L14704, doi: 10.1029/2012GL051856. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Geophysical Research Letters
volume
39
pages
14704 - 14704
publisher
American Geophysical Union
external identifiers
  • wos:000306924100001
  • scopus:84864484021
ISSN
1944-8007
DOI
10.1029/2012GL051856
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
6ebaa475-e3f4-4c98-b2db-242fd5216821 (old id 3080011)
date added to LUP
2012-09-25 08:20:07
date last changed
2017-10-01 04:13:40
@article{6ebaa475-e3f4-4c98-b2db-242fd5216821,
  abstract     = {Peatland soils store substantial amounts of organic matter (OM). During peat formation, easily decomposable OM is preferentially lost and more recalcitrant moieties accumulate. In a peat profile, OM quality thus scales with depth. Drainage and ongoing climate change poses the risk of rapid OM loss when formerly anoxic peat layers oxidize. During peat decomposition, deeper, more recalcitrant peat is exposed to the oxygen-rich surface, which may influence the decomposition rate. We show that the soil respiration rate of a disturbed temperate peatland is strongly controlled by the peat's quality and especially its polysaccharides content. The polysaccharide content of soil profiles in a wider range of peatland sites with differing degrees of disturbance was inferred by means of solid-state C-13 NMR and DRIFT spectroscopy. The data confirmed a strong decline in polysaccharide content with depth and a poor OM quality of surface peat in soils drained decades ago. We combined the evidence from respiration and spectroscopic measurements to deduce the sensitivity of peatland carbon loss with respect to OM quality by scaling measured quality to a 142-years record of peatland subsidence and carbon loss at one of the sites. According to the functional relationship between quality and respiration, the measured average annual carbon loss rate of 2.5 t C ha(-1) at that site was 20 t C ha(-1) at the onset of peatland drainage and dropped to less than 1 t C ha(-1) in recent times. Citation: Leifeld, J., M. Steffens, and A. Galego-Sala (2012), Sensitivity of peatland carbon loss to organic matter quality, Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L14704, doi: 10.1029/2012GL051856.},
  author       = {Leifeld, Jens and Steffens, Markus and Gallego-Sala, Angela},
  issn         = {1944-8007},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {14704--14704},
  publisher    = {American Geophysical Union},
  series       = {Geophysical Research Letters},
  title        = {Sensitivity of peatland carbon loss to organic matter quality},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2012GL051856},
  volume       = {39},
  year         = {2012},
}