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Browsing by Author "Kuuri-Riutta, Olivia"

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  • Kuuri-Riutta, Olivia (2021)
    Global warming is changing the ecohydrology and carbon fluxes of northern peatlands. If the soil moisture level remains high enough, peatland carbon sequestration may increase under longer and warming growing seasons, enhancing the cooling climate impact of peatlands. However, in case the evaporation overcomes precipitation, peatlands will dry. This leads to increased carbon dioxide emissions and the weakening of the cooling climate effect of peatlands. In addition, peatland methane fluxes are regulated by temperature and moisture conditions. What remains unknown, is which changes will be the most prominent and to which direction the climate impact of peatlands will develop in the future. The purpose of this thesis is to gain a better understanding of the peatland climate responses by investigating the recent vegetation development of a subarctic aapa mire. In August 2020, four surface peat cores were collected from the margin of Lompolojänkkä fen in Finnish Lapland. Recent changes in plant communities and carbon accumulation rates were investigated. Pb-210 dating method was applied to establish the chronology. A shift from a Cyperaceae-dominated community into a Sphagnum-dominated community in the beginning of the 1960s was detected. The shift indicates drying habitat conditions. Recent drying has been reported from several other northern peatlands. On the other hand, a similar expansion of Sphagna has been interpreted to be caused not only by hydrological changes but also directly by increasing temperatures, which cannot be ruled out in Lompolojänkkä either. Carbon accumulation in Lompolojänkkä seems to have increased following the change in the vegetation. However, the inferred increase might largely reflect an incomplete level of decomposing characteristic to surface peat. In contrast to the peatland margins, no drying signals or vegetation changes were observed in the central parts of Lompolojänkkä. This variation within a single peatland highlights the heterogeneous nature of peatland climate responses and carbon dynamics.