Canadian Forest Service Publications

Effects of a changing climate on peatlands in permafrost zones : a literature review and application to Ontario’s far north. 2013. McLaughlin, J. W. ; Webster, K. Ministry of Natural Resources, Ontario Forest Research Institute, Sault Ste. Marie, ON. Climate Change Research Report CCRR-34 168p.

Year: 2013

Issued by: Great Lakes Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 34839

Language: English

Availability: PDF (download)

Mark record

Plain Language Summary

The Hudson Bay Lowlands (HBL) make up nearly 50% of the land area of Ontario’s Far North and store about 75% of the peatland carbon in the Far North. The HBL is the largest peatland complex in North America. Most (75%) of the HBL is in Ontario, where the Far North Act mandates that the vulnerability of ecosystems to climate change, and their carbon sequestration potential be considered in land use planning. We reviewed the peatland literature and identified several potential climate change indicators for peatland carbon budgets. We propose that in northern ecoregions accelerated permafrost thawing and wetter peat will enhance methane emissions; and in southern ecoregions increased evapotranspiration and drier peat will accelerate carbon dioxide losses through peat decomposition (and possible fire). This report includes chapters on peatland development and plant associations; peatland hydrology, carbon cycling, fire regimes; permafrost patterns, permafrost peatland mapping, monitoring and modelling, climate change and peatland carbon, and uncertainties, challenges and science priorities to assess peatland carbon storage and sequestration.