Pattered Peatland is moderate to highly vulnerable to climate change. Warming temperatures may cause peat drying and decomposition, increasing the risk of invasive species.

Submitted by dshannon on Mon, 01/25/2021 - 08:04

Warmer temperatures may increase water losses, but potentially increasing groundwater recharge could offset higher rates of evaporation. However, if drying does occur, either due to natural losses or due to groundwater withdrawals, peat decomposition is possible, along with cascading increases in available nitrogen, increasing the risk of invasive species. Although some characteristic plant species appear to tolerate warmer temperatures, most have strict hydrologic requirements. However, being located in frost pockets and connections to cool groundwater may reduce the impact of increasing temperature. The community often occurs within large peatland complexes and species may be able to shift within sites in response to changing local conditions. In addition, the high microhabitat diversity creates multiple hydrologic niches that may allow species to shift within sites in response to small changes in water levels.