Dr Gallego-Sala: Climatic regulation of the peatland carbon sink during the last millennium

Abstract

Peatland ecosystems currently store more carbon than that contained in all of the world’s vegetation. The carbon sink potential of peatlands depends on the opposing processes of carbon uptake by vegetation and microbial decomposition of plant matter. The rates of both these processes will increase with warming and a key question is which of these will dominate the overall response of the global peatland carbon sink to future climate change. In this seminar, I will describe a new global data set of peatland carbon accumulation rates over the last millennium that we have used to examine the relationship between carbon accumulation rates and climate

Speaker

Dr Angela Gallego-Sala is a biogeochemist with expertise in climatic regulation of peatland function and extent and of methane emissions from peatlands. My broader interests are on greenhouse gas balances, integrity of carbon stores, peatland conservation and tropical peatlands. My strength lies in fusing field and laboratory methods with modelling. I am currently funded by a water company (South West Water) to monitor methane in restored peatlands, by NERC on tipping points in the UK landscape (including peatlands). I have just completed a NERC-funded project entitled “Peatlands and the global carbon cycle during the past millennium: an assessment using observations and models”. I previously worked in Lund, Sweden, modelling the dynamic interactions of fire, vegetation, climate and human population in Mediterranean areas as part of the FUME European project. Earlier on, I worked at the University of Bristol, on a project entitled “Climate Change and the Uplands” commissioned by the Environment Agency, to study the implications of climate change for peatland soils in the UK and the effects on ecosystem services including carbon storage, flooding and water quality. During my PhD (NERC CASE funded) I investigated the temperature effects on methane production in peatlands. 

 

Dr Ted Feldpausch: Fires, forests, and farms: linking pre-Columbian Amazonian legacies to modern forests

Abstract

Amazonian forests are an important reservoir of above and belowground carbon and species diversity. Presently, these forests are undergoing rapid conversion to agriculture and an increase in fire. There is an ongoing debate on the degree and scale of historical centennial-scale land-use and fire in Amazonia. This uncertainty limits our ability to understand drivers of the current Amazon Basin carbon sink and to conserve and manage forests. This talk evaluates the interaction between pyrogenic carbon and soils in Amazonia and whether the persistent effect of landscape use in Amazon Dark Earths (terra preta soil) resulted in long-term legacies in forest vegetation. The study examines the regional variation and drivers of differences in soil chemistry and pyrogenic carbon, the potential fire legacy effects in old-growth forests, and using field data from ADE and non-ADE sites evaluates the role of pre-Columbian land-use on forest structure and floristic composition.

Speaker

Dr Ted Feldpausch is a Senior Lecturer in Geography at the University of Exeter and an affiliated professor at the National Institute for Amazonian Research (INPA) and UNEMAT, Brazil. He was a post-doc at the University of Leeds, UK under several NERC projects studying the drivers of change in pantropical forests and savannas, assisting in the development of the Amazon Forest Inventory Network (RAINFOR). He completed his MSc and PhD in forest ecology and soil science at Cornell University studying secondary forests and logging under the Large-scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia. He currently leads two NERC grants in Amazonia and Colombia examining long-term forest response to fire, changing climate, and anthropogenic disturbance and is also evaluating the effect of lighting on forests in Africa.

Venue

Room 320, Steele Building (#03)