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      Unraveling past impacts of climate change and land management on historic peatland development using proxy‐based reconstruction, monitoring data and process modeling

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          Abstract

          Peatlands represent globally significant soil carbon stores that have been accumulating for millennia under water‐logged conditions. However, deepening water‐table depths ( WTD) from climate change or human‐induced drainage could stimulate decomposition resulting in peatlands turning from carbon sinks to carbon sources. Contemporary WTD ranges of testate amoebae ( TA) are commonly used to predict past WTD in peatlands using quantitative transfer function models. Here we present, for the first time, a study comparing TA‐based WTD reconstructions to instrumentally monitored WTD and hydrological model predictions using the MILLENNIA peatland model to examine past peatland responses to climate change and land management. Although there was very good agreement between monitored and modeled WTD, TA‐reconstructed water table was consistently deeper. Predictions from a larger European TA transfer function data set were wetter, but the overall directional fit to observed WTD was better for a TA transfer function based on data from northern England. We applied a regression‐based offset correction to the reconstructed WTD for the validation period (1931–2010). We then predicted WTD using available climate records as MILLENNIA model input and compared the offset‐corrected TA reconstruction to MILLENNIA WTD predictions over an extended period (1750–1931) with available climate reconstructions. Although the comparison revealed striking similarities in predicted overall WTD patterns, particularly for a recent drier period (1965–1995), there were clear periods when TA‐based WTD predictions underestimated (i.e. drier during 1830–1930) and overestimated (i.e. wetter during 1760–1830) past WTD compared to MILLENNIA model predictions. Importantly, simulated grouse moor management scenarios may explain the drier TA WTD predictions, resulting in considerable model predicted carbon losses and reduced methane emissions, mainly due to drainage. This study demonstrates the value of a site‐specific and combined data‐model validation step toward using TA‐derived moisture conditions to understand past climate‐driven peatland development and carbon budgets alongside modeling likely management impacts.

          Abstract

          We compared testate amoebae ( TA)‐based water table ( WTD) reconstructions to instrumentally monitored WTD and hydrological model predictions using the MILLENNIA peatland model to examine past peatland responses to climate change and potential grouse moor land management including drainage and rotational vegetation burning. The comparison of TA vs. MILLENNIA model and measured data revealed striking similarities in overall WTD patterns. However, there were clear periods when TA‐based predictions underestimated WTD. Importantly, simulated grouse moor management scenarios seemed to explain this period of drier TA WTD predictions, resulting in considerable model predicted carbon losses and reduced methane emissions, mainly due to drainage.

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          Most cited references 48

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          The Limits to Peat Bog Growth

           R. S. Clymo (1984)
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            Climate-related changes in peatland carbon accumulation during the last millennium

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              Profiles of Water Content and Pore Size in Sphagnum and Peat, and their Relation to Peat Bog Ecology

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                andreas.heinemeyer@york.ac.uk
                Journal
                Glob Chang Biol
                Glob Chang Biol
                10.1111/(ISSN)1365-2486
                GCB
                Global Change Biology
                John Wiley and Sons Inc. (Hoboken )
                1354-1013
                1365-2486
                30 May 2018
                September 2018
                : 24
                : 9 ( doiID: 10.1111/gcb.2018.24.issue-9 )
                : 4131-4142
                Affiliations
                [ 1 ] Environment Department Stockholm Environment Institute University of York York UK
                [ 2 ] water@leeds School of Geography University of Leeds Leeds UK
                Author notes
                [* ] Correspondence

                Andreas Heinemeyer, Environment Department, Stockholm Environment Institute, University of York, York, UK.

                Email: andreas.heinemeyer@ 123456york.ac.uk

                Article
                GCB14298
                10.1111/gcb.14298
                6849627
                29738631
                © 2018 The Authors. Global Change Biology Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd

                This is an open access article under the terms of the http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Page count
                Figures: 8, Tables: 0, Pages: 12, Words: 8616
                Product
                Funding
                Funded by: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs , open-funder-registry 10.13039/501100000277;
                Award ID: BD5104
                Funded by: Natural Environment Research Council , open-funder-registry 10.13039/501100000270;
                Award ID: NERC F14/G6/105
                Award ID: NERC R8‐H12‐01
                Categories
                Primary Research Article
                Primary Research Articles
                Custom metadata
                2.0
                September 2018
                Converter:WILEY_ML3GV2_TO_JATSPMC version:5.7.1 mode:remove_FC converted:12.11.2019

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