About this Research Topic
Peatlands cover only 3% of the global land surface but store about one third of the world's soil carbon pool. Sequestered from the atmosphere during the Holocene, this huge carbon stock is now regionally released at high rates due to anthropogenic disturbance such as drainage and land use changes for agriculture, forestry and peat extraction. New land use and management options that effectively mitigate peatland loss and important related ecosystem services are urgently needed. Apart from the direct human impacts, the transition from the Holocene to the Anthropocene exerts a long-lasting change in peatland climatic and nutrient boundary conditions. The global impact of these changes on the stability of peatland ecosystems and their emissions of the greenhouse gases (GHG) carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) is currently unknown. A deep understanding of peatland processes that can be combined with socio-economic and legal aspects is crucial for human society to explore and manage the future of Earth's pristine, disturbed and used peatlands.
The increasing awareness of the critical role of peatlands for the global climate and several other ecosystem services (e.g. water quality) and biodiversity, has strongly increased peatland research activity. Advances in observational techniques and more comprehensive lab and field monitoring programs that honor the close biogeochemical links between soil, water and vegetation provide new unique opportunities for the integrative analysis of peatland functioning. We want to assemble the ongoing activities in this Research Topic (i) to enhance the visibility of the new wealth of multi-site, multi-timescale, and multi-sensor observations, (ii) to showcase the impact of these observations in empirical and process-based modeling studies, and (iii) to advance the understanding of processes in natural and human-impacted peatland settings.
We are interested in Methods and Original Research Articles, but also welcome Hypothesis and Theory, Perspective and Review articles that can boost the exploitation of the information present in observations and give us new insights in the functioning of peatlands. The scope of this research topic includes:
• Spatio-temporal variability of ecosystem fluxes across natural and managed peatlands from northern to tropical latitudes and identification of key controlling factors;
• Effects of climate change, nutrient loading or fire on GHG, DOC and nutrient dynamics, peatland vegetation, atmosphere-biosphere interactions or carbon stock changes;
• Sustainable use of peatlands, methods to remediate and restore peatlands, new use options for degraded peatlands;
• Hydrological processes, hydrological modelling, runoff generation, groundwater interaction, snow, ice and permafrost;
• Exploration of possible tipping points and thresholds of peatland ecosystems based upon long-term monitoring, paleo-records or modeling;
• Implementation of critical processes into hydrological and biogeochemical models at the plot, peatland, and global scale;
• Novel approaches for the integration of different observations at single sites or across multiple sites by empirical or process-based modeling;
• Emerging techniques for spatial peatland monitoring based on UAV, airborne and satellite remote sensing or ground-based geophysical methods.
Keywords: peatlands, hydrology, carbon cycle, greenhouse gas emissions, ecohydrology, ecology, restoration, rewetting, climate change, water quality, dissolved organic carbon, biogeochemistry
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.