Peatland Initiation, Carbon Accumulation, and 2 ka Depth in the James Bay Lowland and Adjacent Regions
Holmquist, James R.
MacDonald, Glen M.
Gallego-Sala, Angela V.
Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research
University of Colorado at Boulder, Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research - Blue Policies in RoMEO
Peatlands surrounding Hudson and James Bays form the second largest peatland complex in the world and contain major stores of soil carbon (C). This study utilized a transect of eight ombrotrophic peat cores from remote regions of central and northern Ontario to quantify the magnitude and rate of C accumulation since peatland initiation and for the past 2000 calendar years before present (2 ka). These new data were supplemented by 17 millennially resolved chronologies from a literature review covering the Boreal Shield, Hudson Plains, and Taiga Shield bordering Hudson and James Bays. Peatlands initiated in central and northern Ontario by 7.8 ka following deglaciation and isostatic emergence of northern areas to above sea level. Total C accumulated since inception averaged 109.7 ± (std. dev.) 36.2 kg C m–2. Approximately 40% of total soil C has accumulated since 2 ka at an average apparent rate of 20.2 ± 6.9 g C m–2 yr–1. The 2 ka depths correlate significantly and positively with modern gridded climate estimates for mean annual precipitation, mean annual air temperature, growing degree-days > 0 °C, and photosynthetically active radiation integrated over days > 0 °C. There are significantly shallower depths in permafrost peatlands. Vertical peat accumulation was likely constrained by temperature, growing season length, and photosynthetically active radiation over the last 2 ka in the Hudson Bay Lowlands and surrounding regions.
US National Science Foundation
Copyright © 2014 University of Colorado at Boulder, Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research
Vol. 46 (1), pp. 19 - 39
Place of publication