EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Carbon emissions from fires in permafrost peatlands

Sander Veraverbeke1, Clement Delcourt1, Gustaf Granath2, Elena Kukavskaya3, Michelle Mack4, Joachim Strengbom5, Xanthe Walker4, Thomas Hessilt1, Brendan Rogers6, and Rebecca Scholten1
Sander Veraverbeke et al.
  • 1Faculty of Science, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands (
  • 2Department of Ecology and Genetics, Plant Ecology and Evolution, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
  • 3V.N. Sukachev Institute of Forest, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Krasnoyarsk, Russia
  • 4Center for Ecosystem Science and Society, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ, USA
  • 5Department of Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden
  • 6Woodwell Climate Research Center, Falmouth, MA, USA

Increases in arctic and boreal fires can switch these biomes from a long-term carbon (C) sink to a source through direct fire emissions and longer-term emissions from soil respiration. Landscapes of intermediate drainage tend to experience the highest C combustion, dominated by soil C emissions, because of relatively thick and periodically dry organic soils. These landscapes may also induce a climate warming feedback through combustion and post-fire respiration of legacy C – soil C that had escaped burning in the previous fire – including from permafrost thaw and degradation. Data shortages from fires in tundra ecosystems and Eurasian boreal forests limit our understanding of C emissions from arctic-boreal fires. Interactions between fire, topography, vegetation, soil and permafrost need to be considered when estimating climate feedbacks of arctic-boreal fires.

How to cite: Veraverbeke, S., Delcourt, C., Granath, G., Kukavskaya, E., Mack, M., Strengbom, J., Walker, X., Hessilt, T., Rogers, B., and Scholten, R.: Carbon emissions from fires in permafrost peatlands, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-2355,, 2021.

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