Carbon sinks or sources: assessing the impact of climate change and anthropic activities on peat development in SE-Europe over the last 150 year

Rezervor sau sursa de C: evaluarea impactului schimbărilor climatice și influentelor antropice asupra turbăriilor din SE-Europei în ultimii 150 de ani

Greenhouse gasses such as carbon dioxide play a major role in climate change, that is increasingly visible nowadays. Peatlands are terrestrial ecosystems that are storing by an order of magnitude more carbon than forests. In Romania, peatlands cover important areas, and understanding their condition and evolution throughout the past is of great significance for developing future scenarios. Industrialization during the last 150 years has brought many anthropic factors that, in addition to natural ones, are damaging the development of peatlands. If the peat is degrading as a consequence of biochemical processes, these ecosystems are converting from carbon sinks to carbon sources, emitting greenhouse gases. Our study aims to investigate peatlands, as carbon reservoirs, by applying multi-proxy analyses. Their development throughout the mentioned period will be analysed by 210Pb dating method, and the degradation periods will be identified using stable carbon analyses. The causes leading to degradation, both natural and anthropic, will be determined. As a final goal, the atmospheric carbon retention and carbon emission of the investigated peatland will be numerically quantified. These data will help in building a database on the integrity of the peatlands studied in Romania and south-eastern Europe that shall bring information needed to predict their development in the future.


Highlighting the importance of peatlands in the global carbon cycle and their susceptibility to climate changes by retrospective analysis of the depositional signatures of seven peat bogs located in Romania (and extended to Bosnia-Hercegovina, Serbia, Bulgaria, Polland and Lithuania), in order to provide relevant informations leading to a better understanding of these ecosystem functions in carbon sequestration processes, and the necessity of adequate management policies for their conservation. The current project will deliver the first multi-proxy observations of recent (over the last 150 years) changes in the development in multiple Romanian and south-eastern European peatlands. These will aid in the assessment of the impact of climatic changes and anthropic influences on peatlands, as well as in the development of the analytical tools required to assess carbon loss and carbon accumulation rates of peatlands in relation to changes in climatic factors. The proposed objectives include: (I) Obtaining information on peat growth variation in time by the construction of a high-resolution time scale based on 210Pb dating for the selected sites; (II) Describing the evolution of peatlands development and identifying the periods of peat degradation; (III) Interpretation of the results obtained on growth periods and degradation episodes in the peatland evolution based on archival information and meteorological data; (IV) Identification of natural and anthropic effects on peat; and (V) Integrating the obtained information for highlighting the importance of peatlands in the global carbon cycle and their susceptibility to climate changes.

Preliminary results 2022 (RO)