Gustaf Granath


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Wildfire and degradation accelerate northern peatland carbon release
Sophie Wilkinson, Roxane Andersen, Paul A. Moore, Scott J. Davidson, Gustaf Granath, J. M. Waddington
Nature Climate Change, Volume 13, Issue 5

The northern peatland carbon sink plays a vital role in climate regulation; however, the future of the carbon sink is uncertain, in part, due to the changing interactions of peatlands and wildfire. Here, we use empirical datasets from natural, degraded and restored peatlands in non-permafrost boreal and temperate regions to model net ecosystem exchange and methane fluxes, integrating peatland degradation status, wildfire combustion and post-fire dynamics. We find that wildfire processes reduced carbon uptake in pristine peatlands by 35% and further enhanced emissions from degraded peatlands by 10%. The current small net sink is vulnerable to the interactions of peatland degraded area, burn rate and peat burn severity. Climate change impacts accelerated carbon losses, where increased burn severity and burn rate reduced the carbon sink by 38% and 65%, respectively, by 2100. However, our study demonstrates the potential for active peatland restoration to buffer these impacts. Northern peatland carbon sink plays a vital role in climate regulation. Here, the authors show that wildfire reduced peatland carbon uptake and enhanced emissions from degraded peatlands; climate change impacts accelerated carbon losses where increased burn rate and severity reduced carbon sink.


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Assessing the peatland hummock–hollow classification framework using high-resolution elevation models: implications for appropriate complexity ecosystem modeling
Paul A. Moore, Max Lukenbach, Dan K. Thompson, Nicholas Kettridge, Gustaf Granath, J. M. Waddington
Biogeosciences, Volume 16, Issue 18

Abstract. The hummock–hollow classification framework used to categorize peatland ecosystem microtopography is pervasive throughout peatland experimental designs and current peatland ecosystem modeling approaches. However, identifying what constitutes a representative hummock–hollow pair within a site and characterizing hummock–hollow variability within or between peatlands remains largely unassessed. Using structure from motion (SfM), high-resolution digital elevation models (DEMs) of hummock–hollow microtopography were used to (1) examine how much area needs to be sampled to characterize site-level microtopographic variation; and (2) examine the potential role of microtopographic shape/structure on biogeochemical fluxes using plot-level data from nine northern peatlands. To capture 95 % of site-level microtopographic variability, on average, an aggregate sampling area of 32 m2 composed of 10 randomly located plots was required. Both site- (i.e. transect data) and plot-level (i.e. SfM-derived DEM) results show that microtopographic variability can be described as a fractal at the submeter scale, where contributions to total variance are very small below a 0.5 m length scale. Microtopography at the plot level was often found to be non-bimodal, as assessed using a Gaussian mixture model (GMM). Our findings suggest that the non-bimodal distribution of microtopography at the plot level may result in an undersampling of intermediate topographic positions. Extended to the modeling domain, an underrepresentation of intermediate microtopographic positions is shown to lead to potentially large flux biases over a wide range of water table positions for ecosystem processes which are non-linearly related to water and energy availability at the moss surface. Moreover, our simple modeling results suggest that much of the bias can be eliminated by representing microtopography with several classes rather than the traditional two (i.e. hummock/hollow). A range of tools examined herein can be used to easily parameterize peatland models, from GMMs used as simple transfer functions to spatially explicit fractal landscapes based on simple power-law relations between microtopographic variability and scale.


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Environmental and taxonomic controls of carbon and oxygen stable isotope composition in <i>Sphagnum</i> across broad climatic and geographic ranges
Gustaf Granath, Håkan Rydin, Jennifer L. Baltzer, Fia Bengtsson, Nicholas Boncek, Luca Bragazza, Zhao‐Jun Bu, S. J. M. Caporn, Ellen Dorrepaal, О. В. Галанина, Mariusz Gałka, Anna Ganeva, David P. Gillikin, Irina Goia, N. D. Goncharova, Michal Hájek, Akira Haraguchi, Lorna I. Harris, Elyn Humphreys, Martin Jiroušek, Katarzyna Kajukało, Edgar Karofeld, Natalia G. Koronatova, Natalia P. Kosykh, Mariusz Lamentowicz, Е. Д. Лапшина, Juul Limpens, Maiju Linkosalmi, Jinze Ma, Marguerite Mauritz, Tariq Muhammad Munir, Susan M. Natali, Rayna Natcheva, Maria​ Noskova, Richard J. Payne, Kyle Pilkington, Sean M. Robinson, Bjorn J. M. Robroek, Line Rochefort, David Singer, Hans K. Stenøien, Eeva‐Stiina Tuittila, Kai Vellak, Anouk Verheyden, J. M. Waddington, Steven K. Rice

Abstract. Rain-fed peatlands are dominated by peat mosses (Sphagnum sp.), which for their growth depend on elements from the atmosphere. As the isotopic composition of carbon (12,13C) and oxygen (16,18O) of these Sphagnum mosses are affected by environmental conditions, the dead Sphagnum tissue accumulated in peat constitutes a potential long-term archive that can be used for climate reconstruction. However, there is a lack of adequate understanding of how isotope values are influenced by environmental conditions, which restricts their current use as environmental and palaeoenvironmental indicators. Here we tested (i) to what extent C and O isotopic variation in living tissue of Sphagnum is species-specific and associated with local hydrological gradients, climatic gradients (evapotranspiration, temperature, precipitation), and elevation; (ii) if the C isotopic signature can be a proxy for net primary productivity (NPP) of Sphagnum; and (iii) to what extent Sphagnum tissue δ18O tracks the δ18O isotope signature of precipitation. In total, we analysed 337 samples from 93 sites across North America and Eurasia using two important peat-forming Sphagnum species (S. magellanicum, S. fuscum) common to the Holartic realm. There were differences in δ13C values between species. For S. magellanicum δ13C decreased with increasing height above the water table (HWT, R2 = 17 %) and was positively correlated to productivity (R2 = 7 %). Together these two variables explained 46 % of the between-site variation in δ13C values. For S. fuscum, productivity was the only significant predictor of δ13C (total R2 = 6 %). For δ18O values, ca. 90 % of the variation was found between sites. Globally-modelled annual δ18O values in precipitation explained 69% of the between-site variation in tissue δ18O. S. magellanicum showed lower δ18O enrichment than S. fuscum (−0.83 ‰ lower) . Elevation and climatic variables were weak predictors of tissue δ18O values after controlling for δ18O values of the precipitation. To summarise, our study provides evidence for (a) good predictability of tissue δ18O values from modelled annual δ18O values in precipitation, and (b) the possibility to relate tissue δ13C values to HWT and NPP, but this appears to be species-dependent. These results suggest that isotope composition can be used at a large scale for climatic reconstructions but that such models should be species-specific.