MSU: «offensive» forests on peatlands will accelerate global warming

© RIA Novosti / Vladimir Astapkovich in foobarcontroller fire Department on location of forest fires in the Tver regionMSU: «offensive» forests on peatlands will accelerate global warming© RIA Novosti / Vladimir Astapkovich the image Bank

. Scientists from MSU, other Russian universities and their foreign colleagues have found that the overgrowing peat forests contributes to the increase of average temperatures and accelerate global warming, according to a paper published in the journal Science of the Total Environment.

«The data obtained allow to conclude that zalecenie of wetlands reduces the ability of peatlands to store carbon, helping to create a warmer and drier climate. Perhaps in the future, climate warming will change the plant composition of the peat, which ultimately will adversely affect the ability of peat to remove from the atmosphere carbon dioxide», says Yuri Ointments, Moscow state University Professor, quoted in a press-service of the Russian science Foundation.

Peat fires are one of the main problems for mankind in recent years, which is particularly pronounced during heat waves and other extreme weather events. In recent years, such fires occurred in the territory of Greenland, Moscow and Indonesia, and only in the last, current estimates of scientists, they can claim the lives of approximately 100 thousand people.

For this reason, the authorities of many countries, including Russia, are seriously considering flooding of peat or planting his forest in order to avoid such problems in the future. On the other hand, peat bogs are now one of the main sinks of carbon on land, and they account for over 40% of the carbon stocks, and their destruction could accelerate global warming.

Professor Masi and his colleagues tried to assess the consequences of this transformation, studying the properties of several peat bogs and swamped forests in the South-West of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous district. To do this, scientists analyzed the changes of ecosystems of forests and peatlands in the last few thousand years and how these changes affect the climate in these regions of Siberia and on the rate of formation of deposits of organic matter.

These observations revealed an interesting pattern in the periods of climate warming similar in strength to modern changes, the peat bogs of Western Siberia gradually began overgrown forests, became more dry. These changes dramatically changed not only the flora, but also a set of microbes living in the soil, which greatly impact on its ability to retain sediment organic matter.

Similar shifts in the ecosystem has led to several consequences. Former peat bogs not only began slowly to withdraw carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, contributing to its accumulation in the air but became warmer by themselves due to their drainage and changes in soil structure, which further accelerated their growth forests.

Similar changes, as scientists believe, can expect the Earth in the future, when the planet’s climate will become even warmer. This factor, in their opinion, you need to consider when preparing climate projections and the development of measures to curb global warming.