Peatlands and Their Role in the Global Carbon Cycle



[1] Global peatlands store a very large carbon (C) pool located within a few meters of the atmosphere. Thus, peatland-atmosphere C exchange should be a major concern to global change scientists: Will large amounts of respired belowground C be released in a warmer climate, causing the climate to further warm (a positive climate feedback)? Will more C be sequestered due to increased plant growth in a warmer climate? How will land use change, fires, and permafrost thaw affect the magnitude and direction of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) exchange with the atmosphere? These questions remain challenging, but some significant progress has been made recently.


We thank the peatland research community for sharing their data sets and Andy Baird and an anonymous reviewer for comments. The work was supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation.