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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2016

Mitigating wildfire carbon loss in managed northern peatlands through restoration

Granath, Gustaf; Moore, Paul A.; Lukenbach, Maxwell C.; Waddington, James Michael


Northern peatlands can emit large amounts of carbon and harmful smoke pollution during a wildfire. Of particular concern are drained and mined peatlands, where management practices destabilize an array of ecohydrological feedbacks, moss traits and peat properties that moderate water and carbon losses in natural peatlands. Our results demonstrate that drained and mined peatlands in Canada and northern Europe can experience catastrophic deep burns (>200 t C ha(-1) emitted) under current weather conditions. Furthermore, climate change will cause greater water losses in these peatlands and subject even deeper peat layers to wildfire combustion. However, the rewetting of drained peatlands and the restoration of mined peatlands can effectively lower the risk of these deep burns, especially if a new peat moss layer successfully establishes and raises peat moisture content. We argue that restoration efforts are a necessary measure to mitigate the risk of carbon loss in managed peatlands under climate change.

Published in

Scientific Reports
2016, volume: 6, article number: 28498

Authors' information

Granath, Gustaf
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology
Granath, Gustaf
McMaster University
Moore, Paul A.
McMaster University
Lukenbach, Maxwell C.
McMaster University
Waddington, James Michael
McMaster University

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG13 Climate action

UKÄ Subject classification

Environmental Sciences
Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources

Publication Identifiers


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