Impacts of Indonesian peatland degradation on the coastal ecosystems and the global carbon cycle

  • In recent years, there has been intense media attention concerning the outbreaks of devastating forest fires in Indonesia. These fires are fueled by forest wood and peat and emit large amounts of carbon to the atmosphere. Peatlands are a unique unbalanced ecosystem composed of organic-rich soils and are estimated to store approximately 600 Gt of carbon globally. Tropical peatlands are among the most space-efficient stores of carbon on Earth containing approximately 89 Gt C. Of this, 57 Gt (65%) are stored in Indonesian peatlands. Indonesian peatlands are one of the largest modern day near-surface reservoirs of terrestrial carbon, with accumulation that began as early as 22 thousand years ago and continued throughout the Pleistocene and Holocene. Despite the highly important and relevant carbon pool in peat swamp forests, they are largely neglected when modeling the past and present global carbon cycle. The forested tropical peatlands in Indonesia have been identified as a particularly crucial source of uncertainty in global carbon cycle models. In order to refine predictions of future and past climate change, this research will quantify the release of carbon from the Indonesian peatlands to better explain the effects that excess carbon has on the downstream marine ecosystems and the global carbon cycle. Currently, large-scale exploitation of land, including deforestation and drainage for the establishment of oil palm plantations, is changing the carbon balance of Indonesian peatlands, turning them from a previous sink to a source via outgassing of CO2 to the atmosphere and leakage of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) into the coastal ocean. The impacts of this perturbation to the coastal environment and the global climate are largely unknown. I use a biogeochemical box model in combination with novel observations and literature data to investigate the impact of different carbon emission scenarios on the combined ocean-atmosphere system.

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Publishing Institution:IRC-Library, Information Resource Center der Jacobs University Bremen
Granting Institution:Jacobs Univ.
Author:Jesse Abrams
Referee:Agostino Merico, Sönke Hohn, Toby Tyrrell, Michael Bau
Advisor:Agostino Merico
Persistent Identifier (URN):urn:nbn:de:gbv:579-opus-1006060
Document Type:PhD Thesis
Language:English
Date of Successful Oral Defense:2016/12/05
Date of First Publication:2016/08/30
Academic Department:Physics & Earth Sciences
PhD Degree:Geosciences
Focus Area:Health
Other Countries Involved:United Kingdom
Other Organisations Involved:Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT)
Library of Congress Classification:Q Science / QE Geology / QE500-639.5 Dynamic and structural geology / QE514-516.5 Geochemistry
Call No:Thesis 2016/26

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