Carbon dynamics in boreal peatlands of the Yenisey region, western Siberia
Abstract. Here we investigate the vegetation history and peat accumulation at the eastern boarder of the West Siberian Plain, near the Yenisey River, south of permafrost. In this region, peat started to accumulate 15 000 years ago as gyttja of shallow lakes in ancient river valleys. This peat is older than previously reported, mainly due to separating particulate organic carbon (POC) from dissolved organic carbon (DOC), which was 1900–6500 years younger than POC. The probability of finding peat layers older than 12 000 years is about 2 %. Peat accumulated as fen peat at a constant rate of 0.2 mm yr−1 and 0.01 kg C m−2 yr−1. The accumulation was higher in ancient river valley environments. Over the last 2000 years these bogs changed into Sphagnum mires which have accumulated up to about 0.1 kg C m−2 yr−1 until present.
The long-lasting fen stage, which makes the Yenisey bogs distinct from the western Siberian bogs, is discussed as a consequence of the local hydrology. The high accumulation rate of peat in unfrozen mires is taken as an indication that thawing of permafrost peat may also change northern peatlands into long-lasting carbon sinks.