Boreal Peatland Ecosystems pp 125-143

Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 188) | Cite as

Decomposition in Boreal Peatlands

  • Tim Moore
  • Nate Basiliko

7.3 Conclusions

The slow rates of decomposition of plant tissues and peat are critical to the accumulation of large amounts of organic matter in boreal peatlands. This slowness is a combination of the poor nutrient content and high refractory content of most peatland plants and the underlying peat, the generally cool and frequently anoxic conditions in which the plant tissues and peat decompose, and small microbial populations, when normalized to soil organic C content. Although several studies have identified and quantified the influence of these controls of decomposition rates for individual peatlands, we still lack a coherence, compared with forest or grassland systems, in the application of this knowledge to the broad range of peatlands that occur with boreal environments under both natural and disturbed (such as drained, harvested, or flooded) conditions or under climate-change scenarios.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Aendekerk TGL (1997) Decomposition of peat substances in relation to physical properties and growth of chamaecyparis. Acta horticulturae 450:191–198Google Scholar
  2. Aerts R, Verhoeven JTA, Whigham DF (1999) Plant-mediated controls on nutrient cycling in temperate fens and bogs. Ecology 80:2170–2181CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Arshad MA, Franzluebbers AJ, Azooz RH (2004) Surface-soil structural properties under grass and cereal production on a Mollic Cyroboralf in Canada. Soil Tillage Res 77:15–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baker TT, Lockaby BG, Conner WH, Meier CE, Stanturf JA, Burke MK (2001) Leaf litter decomposition and nutrient dynamics in four southern forested floodplain communities. Soil Sci Soc Am J 65:1334–1347CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Banerjee RD, Sen SP (1979) Antibiotic activity of bryophytes. Bryologist 82:141–153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Basiliko N, Yavitt JB (2001) Influence of Ni,Co,Fe, and Na additions on methane production in Sphagnum-dominated northern American peatlands. Biogeochemistry 52:133–153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Belyea LR (1996) Separating the effects of litter quality and macroenvironment on decomposition rates in a patterned peatland. Oikos 77:529–539Google Scholar
  8. Blodau C, Moore TR (2003) Micro-scale CO2 and CH4 dynamics in a peat soil during a water fluctuation and sulfate pulse. Soil Biol Biochem 35:535–547CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Blodau C, Roehm CL, Moore TR (2002) Iron, sulfur, and dissolved carbon dynamics in a northern peatland. Achiv Hydrobiol 154:561–583Google Scholar
  10. Blodau C, Basiliko N, Moore TR (2004) Carbon turnover in peatland mesocosms exposed to different water table levels. Biogeochemistry 67:331–351CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bräuer SL, Yavitt JB, Zinder SH (2004) Methanogenesis in McLean Bog, an acidic peat bog in upstate New York: stimulation by H2/CO2in presence of rifampicin, or by low concentrations of acetate. Geomicrobiol J 21:433–443CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Campbell C, Vitt DH, Halsey LA, Campbell ID, Thormann MN, Bayley SE (2000) Net primary production and standing biomass in northern continental wetlands. Canadian Forestry Service information report NOR-X-369. Canadian Forestry Service, EdmontonGoogle Scholar
  13. Cleary J, Roulet NT, Moore TR (2005). Greenhouse gas emissions from Canadian peat extraction, 1990–2000: a life-cycle analysis. Ambio 34:456–461PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Clymo RS (1965) Experiments on breakdown of Sphagnum in two bogs. J Ecol 53:737–757Google Scholar
  15. Clymo RS, Turunen J, Tolonen K (1998) Carbon accumulation in peatland. Oikos 81:368–388Google Scholar
  16. Day FP (1983) Effects of flooding on leaf litter decomposition in microcosms. Oecologia 56:180–184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dunfield P, Knowles R, Dumont RT, Moore TR (1993) Methane production and consumption in temperate and subarctic peat soils: response to temperature and pH. Soil Biol Biochem 25:321–326CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Duddleston KN, Kinney MA, Kiene RP, Hines ME (2002) Anaerobic microbial biogeochemistry in a northern bog: acetate as a dominant metabolic end product. Global Biogeochem Cycles 16.DOI 10.1029/2001GB001402Google Scholar
  19. Fenner N, Ostle N, Freeman C, Sleep D, Reynolds B (2004) Peatland carbon efflux partitioning reveals that Sphagnum photosynthate contributes to the DOC pool. Plant Soil 259:345–354CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Freeman C, Liska G, Ostle NJ, Lock MA, Hughes S, Reynolds B, Hudson J (1997) Enzymes and biogeochemical cycling in wetlands during a simulated drought. Biogeochemistry 39:177–187CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Freeman C, Ostle N, Kang H (2001) An enzymatic ‘latch’ on global carbon store. Nature 409:149PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Frolking S, Bubier JL, Moore TR, Ball T, Bellisario LM, Bhardwaj A, Carroll P, Crill PM, Lafleur PM, McCaughey JH, Roulet NT, Suyker AE, Verma SB, Waddington JM, Whiting GJ (1998) The relationship between ecosystem productivity and photosynthetically active radiation for northern peatlands. Global Biogeochem Cycles 12:115–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Glatzel SN, Basiliko N, Moore TR (2004) Carbon dioxide and methane production potentials of peats from natural, harvested and restored sites, eastern Québec, Canada. Wetlands 24:261–267CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gorham E (1991) Northern Peatlands: role in the carbon cycle and probable responses to climatic warming. Ecol Appl 1:182–195Google Scholar
  25. Hogg HE (1993) Decay potential of hummock and hollow Sphagnum peats at different depths in a Swedish raised mire. Oikos 66:269–278Google Scholar
  26. Hornibrook ERC, Longstaff FJ, Frye WS (1997) Spatial distribution of microbial methane production pathways in temperate zone wetland soils: stable carbon and hydrogen isotope evidence. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 61:745–753CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Jasinski SM (2001) Peat. Mineral Commodity Summaries, January, 2001. US Department of the Interior: US Geological Survey, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  28. Johnson LC, Damman AWH (1991) Species controlled Sphagnum decay on a south Swedish raised bog. Oikos 61:234–242Google Scholar
  29. Johnson LC, Damman AWH (1993) Decay and its regulation in Sphagnum peatlands. Adv Bryol 5:249–296Google Scholar
  30. Latter PM, Howson G, Howard DM, Scott WA (1998) Long-term study of litter decomposition on a Pennine peat bog: which regression? Oecologia 113:94–103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Leckie SE, Prescott CE, Grayston SJ, Neufeld JD, Mohn WW (2004) Characterization of humus microbial communities in adjacent forest types that differ in nitrogen availability. Microbial Ecol 48:29–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Li Y, Vitt DH (1997) Patterns of retention and utilization of aerially deposited nitrogen in boreal peatlands. Écoscience 4:106–116Google Scholar
  33. Limpens J, Berendse F (2003) How litter quality affects mass loss and N loss from decomposing Sphagnum. Oikos 103:537–547CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lockaby BG, Wheat RS, Clawson RG (1996) Influence of hydroperiod on litter conversion to soil organic matter in a floodplain forest. Soil Sci Soc Am J 60:1989–1993CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Meentemeyer V (1978) Macroclimate and lignin control of litter decomposition rates. Ecology 59:465–472CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Moore TR, Dalva M (1993) The influence of temperature and water table position on carbon dioxide and methane emissions from laboratory columns of peatlands soil. J Soil Sci 44:651–664CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Moore TR, Dalva M (1997) Methane and carbon dioxide exchange potentials of peat in aerobic and anaerobic laboratory incubations. Soil Biol Biochem 29:1157–1164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Moore TR, Bubier JL, Frolking SE, Lafleur PM, Roulet NT (2002) Plant biomass and production and CO2 exchange in an ombrotrophic bog. J Ecol 90:25–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Moore TR, Trofymow JA, Taylor B, Prescott C, Camiré C, Duschene L, Fyles J, Kozak L, Kranabetter M, Morrison I, Siltanen M, Smith S, Titus B, Visser S, Wein R, Zoltai S (1999) Litter decomposition rates in Canadian forests. Global Change Biol 5:75–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Moore TR, Trofymow JA, Siltanen M, Prescott C, CIDET Working Group (2005) Patterns of decomposition and carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus dynamics of litter in upland forest and peatland sites, central Canada. Can J For Res 35:133–142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Moore TR, Trofymow JA, Prescott CE, Fyles J, Titus BD, CIDET Working Group (2006) Patterns of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus dynamics in decomposing foliar litter in Canadian forests. Ecosystems (in press)Google Scholar
  42. Murayama S, Asakawa Y, Ohno Y (1990) Chemical properties of subsurface peats and their decomposition kinetics under field conditions. Soil Sci Plant Nutr 36:129–140Google Scholar
  43. Nedwell D, Watson A (1995) CH4 production, oxidation and emissions in a UK ombrotrophic peat bog: influence of SO42− from acid rain. Soil Biol Biochem 27:893–903CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Painter TJ (1991) Lindow Man, Tollund Man and other peat-bog bodies: the preservative and antimicrobial action of Sphanan, a reactive glycurnoglycan with tanning and sequestering properties. Carbohydr Polym 15:123–142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Robert EC, Rochefort L, Garneau M (1999) Natural revegetation of two block-cut mined peatlands in eastern Canada. Can J Bot 77:447–459CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Scanlon D, Moore TR (2000) Carbon dioxide production from peatland soil profiles: the influence of temperature, oxic/anoxic conditions and substrate. Soil Sci 165:153–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Segers R (1998) Methane production and methane consumption: a review of processes underlying wetland methane fluxes. Biogeochemistry 41:23–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Thomas KL, Benstead J, Davies KL, Lloyd D (1996) Role of wetland plants in the diurnal control of CH4 and CO2 fluxes in peat. Soil Biol Biochem 28:17–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Thormann MN, Bayley SE, Currah RS (2000) Comparison of decomposition of belowground and aboveground plant litters in peatlands of boreal Alberta. Can J Bot 79:9–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Trofymow JA, Moore TR, Titus B, Prescott C, Morrison I, Siltanen M, Smith S, Fyles J, Wein R, Camiré C, Duschene L, Kozak L, Kranabetter M, Visser S (2002) Rates of litter decomposition over 6 years in Canadian forests: influence of litter quality and climate. Can J For Res 32:789–804CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Turetskey MR (2004) Decomposition and organic matter quality in continental peatland: the ghost of permafrost past. Ecosystems 7:740–750CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Turunen J, Pitkänen A, Tahvanainen T, Tolonen K (2001) Carbon accumulation in West Siberian mires, Russia. Global Biogeochem Cycles 15:285–296CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Updegraff K, Pastor J, Bridgham SD, Johnston CA (1996) Environmental and substrate controls over carbon and nitrogen mineralization in northern wetlands. Ecol Appl 5:151–163Google Scholar
  54. Verhoeven JTA, Liefveld WM (1997) The ecological significance of organochemical compounds in Sphagnum. Acta Bot Neerl 46:117–130Google Scholar
  55. Verhoeven JTA, Toth E (1995) Decomposition of Carex and Sphagnum litter in fens: effect of litter quality and inhibition by living tissue homogenates. Soil Biol Biochem 27:271–275CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Vile MA, Bridgham SD, Wieder RK, Novak M (2003a) Atmospheric sulfur deposition alters pathways of gaseous carbon production in peatlands. Global Biogeochem Cycles 17:1058.DOI 10.1029/2002GB001966Google Scholar
  57. Vile MA, Bridgham SD, Wieder RK (2003b) Response of anaerobic carbon mineralization rates to sulfate amendments in a boreal peatland. Ecol Appl 13:720–734Google Scholar
  58. Waksman SA, Stevens KR (1928) Contribution to the chemical composition of peat I. Chemical nature of organic complexes in peat and methods of analysis. Soil Sci 26:113–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Waksman SA, Stevens KR (1929) Contribution to the chemical contribution of peat. II. The role of microorganisms in peat formation. Soil Sci 28:315–340Google Scholar
  60. Wieder RK (2001) Past, present and future carbon balance — an empirical model based on 210Pb-dated cores. Ecol Appl 11:321–336Google Scholar
  61. Wieder RK, Lang GE (1988) Cycling of inorganic and organic sulfur in peat from Big Run Bog, West Virginia. Biogeochemistry 5:221–242CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Wieder RK, Yavitt JB, Lang GE (1990) Methane production and sulfate reduction in 2 Appalachian peatlands. Biogeochemistry 10:81–104CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Williams B, Silcock D, Young M (1999) Seasonal dynamics of N in two Sphagnum moss species and the underlying peat treated with 15NH4 15NO3. Biogeochemistry 45:285–302Google Scholar
  64. Williams CJ, Shingara EA, Yavitt JB (2000) Phenol oxidase activity in peatlands in New York state: response to summer drought and peat type. Wetlands 20:416–421CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Wind T, Conrad R (1997) Localization of sulfate reduction in planted and unplanted rice field soil. Biogeochemistry 37:253–278CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Wylie GD (1987) Decomposition and nutrient dynamics of litter of Quercus palustris and Nelumbo lutea in a wetland complex of Southeast Missouri, U.S.A. Arch Hydrobiol 111:95–106Google Scholar
  67. Wynn-Williams DD (1982) Simulation of seasonal changes in microbial activity of maritime Antarctic peat. Soil Biol Biochem 14:1–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Yavitt JB, Williams CJ, Wieder RK (1997) Production of methane and carbon dioxide in peatland ecosystems across North America: effects of temperature, aeration, and organic chemistry of peat. Geomicrobiol J 14:299–316CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Zinder SH (1993) Physiological ecology of methanogens. In: Ferry JG (ed) Methanogenesis: ecology, physiology, biochemistry, and genetics. Chapman and Hall, New York, pp 128–206Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tim Moore
    • 1
  • Nate Basiliko
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Geography and Centre for Climate and Global Change ResearchMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Department of Forest ScienceUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

Personalised recommendations