Understanding the Ecohydrology of Shallow, Drained and Marginal Blanket Peatlands
Luscombe, David J.
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
Chapters six and seven of this thesis are due to be submitted for publication in the near future.
Peatlands are unique and important landscape systems, providing valuable ecosystem services such as water and carbon storage, water supply and flood attenuation. They are known to account for more than 10% of the world’s terrestrial carbon store and represent 50 – 70% of the global wetland resource. The UK government’s decision to support the IUCN, UK Peatland Program Commission of Inquiry on Peatlands, recognises the importance and urgency with which action is needed to understand and restore damaged peatland landscapes, and their associated ecosystem services. To meet this need, it is recognised that peatlands in the South West of the UK are important as bio-climatically and functionally marginal peatlands that are undergoing extensive restoration to reinstate key ecological and hydrological function. This thesis aims to improve understanding of the temporal and spatial variability of the ecohydrological structure and function of peatland ecosystems in the South West UK, and will provide the first baseline for the spatially distributed extrapolation of change across larger landscape extents. The research seeks to characterise the structure and function of peatland ecohydrology across multiple spatial and temporal scales. This is accomplished by bringing together remote sensing analyses of ecohydrological structure and function coupled with an integrated and high resolution hydrological monitoring system to characterise the spatial and temporal variability of runoff production and water storage across two headwater catchments. Key outcomes of this research are: 1. The development of novel methods to assess the spatial distribution of near surface hydrology in upland ecosystems using airborne thermal imaging data, 2. Improved understanding of how laser altimetry data can be used to measure the ecohydrology of landscapes more appropriately. 3. An empirical understanding of both the spatial and temporal variability of hydrology across representative sites within the moorlands of the South West UK. The high-resolution monitoring data are the first to describe the hydrological processes operating in these peatlands systems effectively, and provide an insight into how these processes are controlled by the anthropogenic drainage networks that are present throughout this shallow marginal peatland system.
South West Water
Luscombe, D. J., Anderson, K., Gatis, N., Wetherelt, A., Grand-Clement, E. & Brazier, R. E. 2014. What does airborne LiDAR really measure in upland ecosystems? Ecohydrology. DOI: 10.1002/eco.1527.
Luscombe, D. J., Anderson, K., Gatis, N., Grand‐Clement, E. & Brazier, R. E. 2014. Using airborne thermal imaging data to measure near‐surface hydrology in upland ecosystems. Hydrological Processes. DOI: 10.1002/hyp.10285
PhD in Geography