Project 1801P: Carbon in Peat on Earth Through Time: Tropical Peatland Processes and Ecosystem Services


Peatlands are a crucial part of the Earth’s System and they provide important ecosystem services, supporting biodiversity; carbon storage; water regulation; natural hazard regulation and recreational benefits. Peat stratigraphy also provides archives of past environmental change and ecosystem sensitivity. Tropical peatlands are essential targets for research as scientists have recently discovered their extent is much larger than previously thought. Additionally, tropical peat ecosystems are vital for many people’s livelihoods, providing food (fish, fruit, etc.) and other sources (wood, etc. including clean water). Anthropogenic pressures on peatlands can substantially alter this provision. For example, fires in drained southeast Asian peatlands have been labelled “a crime against humanity” due to the haze and pollution they cause, while releasing vast amounts of carbon to the atmosphere. These anthropogenic impacts and climate forcings on peatland ecosystems have resulted in ecological changes, some of which are stored in the stratigraphic record. The project will focus on researching this record to better understand tropical peatlands. We are interested in (1) developing a better understanding of the palaeo-peatland records in tropics and their associations with recent climatic changes (2) connecting our work with land-use change analysis, (3) developing a framework of ecosystem services along with stakeholders concerned with peatland resource management.

The project aims to be interdisciplinary, and bring together the paleo community, modelers and stakeholders to learn lessons from the past and recent changes that could help us understand and manage the fate of tropical peatlands in the future. We aim to gather experts who have worked on tropical peatlands and globally to join the meeting/workshop. 

This group will include scientists from a variety of career stages, countries, and genders; we are committed to increasing diversity and inclusion of under-represented minorities in our research community.

Overall, the meeting will allow us to (1) develop a compilation dataset of paleorecords in the tropics during the Holocene and the Anthropocene framework - this will serve as the main basis for developing our understanding of drivers of change in tropical peatlands. (2) to develop an inclusive and participatory research agenda for the coming year that facilitates data integration and analysis, as well as collaboration between international scientists with expertise in paleo proxies, experimental and modelling methodologies and integration of stakeholders. These activities are valuable for the entire paleo community. 

Dates: 01.03 - 31.03.2021 ; The final announcement for dates of workshop will in November 2020.

Venue: Bangkok, Thailand
Technical sessions will be held at: Chaloem Rajakumari 60 Building, Chulalongkorn University, Phayathai Road, Phatumwan, Bangkok 10330

Project Leaders

Sakonvan Chawchai

Chulalongkorn University, Faculty Of Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10333 Thailand

Susan Page

University Of Leicester, University Road, Leicester, LE1 7RH, UK

David Beilman

University Of Hawaiʻi At Mānoa, University Of Hawaiʻi At Mānoa, Hawai'i, USA

Angela Gallego-Sala

University Of Exeter, Rennes Drive, EX4 1RJ, UK

Julie Loisel

Texas A&M University, 3147 TAMU, OM Building, Room 810, College Station TX, USA