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Cause and effects of tree colonization feedbacks on peatlands

Start: 2020

Peatlands are a key element when it comes to meet several challenges outlined in the UN sustainable development goals. Despite covering less than 3% of the Earth’s land surface, peatlands store 30% of all soil carbon and are important carrier of biodiversity. But, climate and land-use changes have resulted in an alarming tree colonization affecting biodiversity, hydrology and carbon sequestration for many boreal peatlands. As for now, hardly any interdisciplinary study has investigated the cause and effects of such tree colonization and involved feedbacks. We will therefore use the latest developments in simulation techniques to explicit tree colonization modelling and linked hydrology, carbon and climate feedbacks. However, the models need to be validated before we can determine how accurate such projections are. We therefore propose a Postdoctoral project to (1) compile existing monitoring data showing links and feedbacks between climate, hydrology and tree growth in peatlands, and (2) use our data to test existing models and to provide reliable projections of peatland responses in the context of future climate scenarios. We will cooperate with stakeholders operating peatland restoration projects, allowing direct implementation of our results in restoration initiatives to maximize the benefits of the project in terms of sustainable management.