Canadian Forest Service Publications

A peatland productivity and decomposition parameter database. 2018. Bona, K.A.; Hilger, A.; Burgess, M.; Wozney, N.; Shaw, C. Ecology 99(10):2406.

Year: 2018

Issued by: Northern Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 39566

Language: English

Availability: PDF (download)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1002/ecy.2462

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A peatland productivity and decomposition parameter database was compiled to estimate parameters for the Canadian Model for Peatlands (CaMP); a module developed by the Canadian Forest Service to address the need for national-scale greenhouse gas emission estimates from peatlands present in the forested area of Canada. Data were compiled for 186 peatland sites from 69 sources. The SITES table contains wetland classification, tree classification, province or state, country, latitude, longitude, and an indication of coordinate accuracy. The NPP ALL table contains annual net primary productivity (NPP; g·m-2·yr-1) data for cases where one estimate for NPP was reported for all aboveground vegetation. The NPP SHRUB, NPP MOSS, and NPP HERB SEDGE tables each contain a classification of species (if available) or vegetation layer and their NPP (g·m-2·yr-1) . The BIOMASS TREE, BIOMASS SHRUB, BIOMASS HERB SEDGE, and BIOMASS MOSS tables each contain a classification of species (if available) or vegetation layer and their standing aboveground biomass (g/m2). Shrubs in the NPP SHRUB and BIOMASS SHRUB tables were further classified into low or tall shrubs, and plants in the NPP HERB and BIOMASS HERB tables into herbs or sedges. The DECAY LITTER table contains decomposition parameters for different litter types and contains a classification of the type of decomposition study, study duration, information on experimental treatments, classification of above- or belowground plant parts, plant species, litter classification, root litter diameter, indication of hardwood or softwood, indication of evergreen or non-evergreen, litter bag depth classification, classes for bag placement relative to the water table and relative to the peat surface, water table depth, decay rate (k exponent), and mass loss values for years 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 12, and 23 of a decomposition study. The REFERENCES table contains complete citation information and provides links to the source reference pdf file. This data set is vital to the national Canadian peatland modeling effort and should be useful to other peatland scientists and ecosystem modelers.

Plain Language Summary

Computer models are often used to calculate the amount of carbon in peatlands (plants and soil) and to calculate the amount of carbon that is transferred from the peatland to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide and methane (greenhouse gases). Making improvements to these models requires large data sets of values for the rate at which carbon is taken up by plants from the atmosphere for growth (net primary productivity - NPP), the rate at which carbon is released from plants and soil (peat) when they decompose, and the amount of carbon that is in the plants (biomass). We gathered data from scientific papers about plant species, NPP, decomposition, and biomass for 170 locations. These data were used to develop the equations in a computer model for Canadian peatlands. The computer model will be used to improve our understanding and reporting on the amount of carbon in Canada's peatlands in forested areas and the amount of greenhouse gases moving from peatlands to the atmosphere. Publishing this database makes it readily available to other researchers asking questions about peatland carbon locally, nationally, and internationally.