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Stable carbon isotopic composition of peat columns, subsoil and vegetation on natural and forestry-drained boreal peatlands

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Original languageEnglish
JournalIsotopes in Environmental and Health Studies
Issue number6
Early online date2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


We studied natural and forestry-drained peatlands to examine the effect of over 34 years lowered water table on the δ13C values of vegetation, bulk peat and subsoil. In the seven studied sites, δ13C in the basal peat layer was 1.1 and 1.2 ‰ lower than that of the middle-layer and surface layer, respectively. Furthermore, there was a positive correlation between the δ13C values of the basal and surface peat layers, possibly due to carbon (C) recycling within the peat column. In the same mire complex, natural fen peat δ13C values were lower than those of the nearby bog, possibly due to the dominance of vascular plants on fen and the generally larger share of recycled C in the fens than in the bogs. Furthermore, natural and 51 years previously drained fen and bog, on the opposite sides of a ditch on the same mire complex, showed no significant differences in δ13C values. Plant δ13C values were lower, while δ13C values of subsoil were higher in the drained than in the natural site of the fen.


  • Biogeochemistry, bog, carbon cycle, carbon dioxide, carbon-13, diagenesis, drainage, fen, isotope ecology, Sphagnum, Suess effect

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