Expert assessment of future vulnerability of the global peatland carbon sink

The carbon balance of peatlands is predicted to shift from a sink to a source this century. However, peatland ecosystems are still omitted from the main Earth system models that are used for future climate change projections, and they are not considered in integrated assessment models that are used in impact and mitigation studies. By using evidence synthesized from the literature and an expert elicitation, we define and quantify the leading drivers of change that have impacted peatland carbon stocks during the Holocene and predict their effect during this century and in the far future. We also identify uncertainties and knowledge gaps in the scientific community and provide insight towards better integration of peatlands into modelling frameworks. Given the importance of the contribution by peatlands to the global carbon cycle, this study shows that peatland science is a critical research area and that we still have a long way to go to fully understand the peatland–carbon–climate nexus.
  • Authors: Loisel, J., Gallego-Sala, A.V., Amesbury, M.J., Magnan, G., Anshari, G., Beilman, D.W., Benavides, J.C., Blewett, J., Camill, P., Charman, D.J., Chawchai, S., Hedgpeth, A., Kleinen, T., Korhola, A., Large, D., Mansilla, C.A., Müller, J., van Bellen, S., West, J.B., Yu, Z., Bubier, J.L., Garneau, M., Moore, T., Sannel, A.B.K., Page, S.E., Väliranta, M., Bechtold, M., Brovkin, V., Cole, L.E.S., Chanton, J.P., Christensen, T.R., Davies, M.A., De Vleeschouwer, F., Finkelstein, S.A., Frolking, S., Gałka, M., Gandois, L., Girkin, N., Harris, L.I., Heinemeyer, A., Hoyt, A.M., Jones, M.C., Joos, F., Juutinen, S., Kaiser, K., Lacourse, T., Lamentowicz, M., Larmola, T., Leifeld, J., Lohila, A., Milner, A.M., Minkkinen, K., Moss, P., Naafs, B.D.A., Nichols, J., O’Donnell, J., Payne, R., Philben, M., Piilo, S., Quillet, A., Ratnayake, A.S., Roland, T.P., Sjögersten, S., Sonnentag, O., Swindles, G.T., Swinnen, W., Talbot, J., Treat, C., Valach, A.C., Wu, J.
  • Author Affiliation: Texas A&M University, University of Exeter, University of Helsinki, University of Quebec at Montreal, Tanjungpura University, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Pontificial Xavierian University, University of Bristol, Bowdoin College, Chulalongkorn University, University of California, Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, University of Nottingham, University of Magallanes, University of Bern, Université de Montréal, Lehigh University, Northeast Normal University, Mount Holyoke College, McGill University, Stockholm University, University of Leicester, KU Leuven, University of St Andrews, Florida State University, Aarhus University, University of Toronto, Instituto Franco-Argentino para el Estudio del Clima y sus Impactos, University of New Hampshire, University of Lodz, Cranfield University, University of Alberta, University of York, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, United States Geological Survey, University of Victoria, Adam Mickiewicz University, Natural Resources Institute Finland, Agroscope, Finnish Meteorological Institute, University of London, University of Queensland, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, University of York, Hope College, University of Reading, Uva Wellassa University, University of Nottingham, Université de Montréal, Queen’s University Belfast, University of California, Memorial University
  • Subjects: carbon balance, peatlands, ecosystems, carbon sinks, ecology, models, climate change
  • Publication type: Journal Article
  • Source: Nature Climate Change 11: 70-77
  • Year: 2021
  • DOI:
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