Rain events decrease boreal peatland net CO2 uptake through reduced light availability

J.J. Nijp*, J. Limpens, K. Metselaar, M. Peichl, M. Nilsson, S.E.A.T.M. van der Zee, F. Berendse

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


Boreal peatlands store large amounts of carbon, reflecting their important role in the global carbon cycle. The short-term exchange and the long-term storage of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) in these ecosystems are closely associated with the permanently wet surface conditions and are susceptible to drought. Especially, the single most important peat forming plant genus, Sphagnum, depends heavily on surface wetness for its primary production. Changes in rainfall patterns are expected to affect surface wetness, but how this transient rewetting affects net ecosystem exchange of CO2 (NEE) remains unknown. This study explores how the timing and characteristics of rain events during photosynthetic active periods, that is daytime, affect peatland NEE and whether rain event associated changes in environmental conditions modify this response (e.g. water table, radiation, vapour pressure deficit, temperature).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2309-2320
JournalGlobal Change Biology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • carbon-dioxide
  • soil respiration
  • sphagnum mosses
  • water-content
  • solar-radiation
  • climate-change
  • precipitation
  • accumulation
  • drought
  • balance


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