skip to main content
DOE PAGES title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Characterizing Peatland Microtopography Using Gradient and Microform-Based Approaches

Abstract

Peatlands represent an important component of the global carbon cycle, storing 180–621 Gt of carbon (C). Small-scale spatial variations in elevation, frequently referred to as microtopography, influence ecological processes associated with the peatland C cycle, including Sphagnum photosynthesis and methane flux. Microtopography can be characterized with measures of topographic variability and by using conceptual classes (microforms) linked to function: most commonly hummocks and hollows. However, the criteria used to define these conceptual classes are often poorly described, if at all, and vary between studies. Such inconsistencies compel development of explicit quantitative methods to classify microforms. Furthermore, gradient-based characterizations that describe spatial variability without the use of microforms are lacking in the literature. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to (1) calculate peatland microtopographical elevation gradients and measures of spatial variability, (2) develop three microform classification methods intended for specific purposes, and (3) evaluate and contrast classification methods. Our results suggest that at spatial scales much larger than microforms, elevation distributions are unimodal and are well approximated with parametric probability density functions. Results from classifications were variable between methods and years and exhibited significant differences in mean hollow areal coverages of a raised ombrotrophic bog. Our results suggest that themore » conceptualization and classification of microforms can significantly influence microtopographic structural metrics. The three explicit methods for microform classification described here may be used and built upon for future applications.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo; ORCiD logo; ; ORCiD logo
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER)
OSTI Identifier:
1619439
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1712728
Grant/Contract Number:  
4000145196; AC05-00OR2272; AC05-00OR22725
Resource Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Ecosystems
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Ecosystems Journal Volume: 23 Journal Issue: 7; Journal ID: ISSN 1432-9840
Publisher:
Springer
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; peatland; microtopography; classification; terrestrial laser scanning; microform; microform classification; hummock; hollow; lidar

Citation Formats

Graham, Jake D., Glenn, Nancy F., Spaete, Lucas P., and Hanson, Paul J. Characterizing Peatland Microtopography Using Gradient and Microform-Based Approaches. United States: N. p., 2020. Web. doi:10.1007/s10021-020-00481-z.
Graham, Jake D., Glenn, Nancy F., Spaete, Lucas P., & Hanson, Paul J. Characterizing Peatland Microtopography Using Gradient and Microform-Based Approaches. United States. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10021-020-00481-z
Graham, Jake D., Glenn, Nancy F., Spaete, Lucas P., and Hanson, Paul J. Mon . "Characterizing Peatland Microtopography Using Gradient and Microform-Based Approaches". United States. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10021-020-00481-z.
@article{osti_1619439,
title = {Characterizing Peatland Microtopography Using Gradient and Microform-Based Approaches},
author = {Graham, Jake D. and Glenn, Nancy F. and Spaete, Lucas P. and Hanson, Paul J.},
abstractNote = {Peatlands represent an important component of the global carbon cycle, storing 180–621 Gt of carbon (C). Small-scale spatial variations in elevation, frequently referred to as microtopography, influence ecological processes associated with the peatland C cycle, including Sphagnum photosynthesis and methane flux. Microtopography can be characterized with measures of topographic variability and by using conceptual classes (microforms) linked to function: most commonly hummocks and hollows. However, the criteria used to define these conceptual classes are often poorly described, if at all, and vary between studies. Such inconsistencies compel development of explicit quantitative methods to classify microforms. Furthermore, gradient-based characterizations that describe spatial variability without the use of microforms are lacking in the literature. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to (1) calculate peatland microtopographical elevation gradients and measures of spatial variability, (2) develop three microform classification methods intended for specific purposes, and (3) evaluate and contrast classification methods. Our results suggest that at spatial scales much larger than microforms, elevation distributions are unimodal and are well approximated with parametric probability density functions. Results from classifications were variable between methods and years and exhibited significant differences in mean hollow areal coverages of a raised ombrotrophic bog. Our results suggest that the conceptualization and classification of microforms can significantly influence microtopographic structural metrics. The three explicit methods for microform classification described here may be used and built upon for future applications.},
doi = {10.1007/s10021-020-00481-z},
journal = {Ecosystems},
number = 7,
volume = 23,
place = {United States},
year = {2020},
month = {2}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10021-020-00481-z

Save / Share:

Works referenced in this record:

Using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) to capture micro-topography of Antarctic moss beds
journal, April 2014

  • Lucieer, Arko; Turner, Darren; King, Diana H.
  • International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, Vol. 27
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.jag.2013.05.011

Global soil carbon: understanding and managing the largest terrestrial carbon pool
journal, February 2014

  • Scharlemann, Jörn PW; Tanner, Edmund VJ; Hiederer, Roland
  • Carbon Management, Vol. 5, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.4155/cmt.13.77

Growth and net production of Sphagnum at five fen sites, subarctic eastern Canada
journal, April 1989

  • Moore, T. R.
  • Canadian Journal of Botany, Vol. 67, Issue 4
  • DOI: 10.1139/b89-156

Attaining whole-ecosystem warming using air and deep-soil heating methods with an elevated CO 2 atmosphere
journal, January 2017

  • Hanson, Paul J.; Riggs, Jeffery S.; Nettles, W. Robert
  • Biogeosciences, Vol. 14, Issue 4
  • DOI: 10.5194/bg-14-861-2017

Soil carbon pools and world life zones
journal, July 1982

  • Post, Wilfred M.; Emanuel, William R.; Zinke, Paul J.
  • Nature, Vol. 298, Issue 5870
  • DOI: 10.1038/298156a0

Linking microtopography with post-fire succession in bogs
journal, February 2005


A reliefmeter for soil cultivation studies.
journal, November 1957


A Subgrid Approach for Modeling Microtopography Effects on Overland Flow
journal, September 2018

  • Jan, Ahmad; Coon, Ethan T.; Graham, Jake D.
  • Water Resources Research, Vol. 54, Issue 9
  • DOI: 10.1029/2017WR021898

Conceptual frameworks in peatland ecohydrology: looking beyond the two-layered (acrotelm-catotelm) model
journal, January 2011

  • Morris, Paul J.; Waddington, J. Michael; Benscoter, Brian W.
  • Ecohydrology, Vol. 4, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1002/eco.191

Microtopographic Drivers of Vegetation Patterning in Blanket Peatlands Recovering from Erosion
journal, December 2018


Evaluation of structure from motion for soil microtopography measurement
journal, September 2014

  • Nouwakpo, Sayjro K.; James, Mike R.; Weltz, Mark A.
  • The Photogrammetric Record, Vol. 29, Issue 147
  • DOI: 10.1111/phor.12072

Initiation of microtopography in revegetated cutover peatlands: Initiation of microtopography
journal, January 2011


The DigiBog peatland development model 1: rationale, conceptual model, and hydrological basis
journal, May 2011

  • Baird, Andy J.; Morris, Paul J.; Belyea, Lisa R.
  • Ecohydrology, Vol. 5, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.1002/eco.230

Northern Peatlands: Role in the Carbon Cycle and Probable Responses to Climatic Warming
journal, May 1991

  • Gorham, Eville
  • Ecological Applications, Vol. 1, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.2307/1941811

Wind erosion and surface stability in abandoned milled peatlands
journal, February 2002

  • Campbell, Daniel R.; Lavoie, Claude; Rochefort, Line
  • Canadian Journal of Soil Science, Vol. 82, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.4141/S00-089

Topographic Fluctuations Across a Spring Fen and Raised Bog in the Lost River Peatland, Northern Minnesota
journal, June 1986

  • Almendinger, John C.; Almendinger, James E.; Glaser, Paul H.
  • The Journal of Ecology, Vol. 74, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.2307/2260263

Net primary and ecosystem production and carbon stocks of terrestrial ecosystems and their responses to climate change
journal, February 1998


Peatlands and Their Role in the Global Carbon Cycle
journal, March 2011

  • Yu, Zicheng; Beilman, D. W.; Frolking, S.
  • Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union, Vol. 92, Issue 12
  • DOI: 10.1029/2011EO120001

Biotic and Abiotic Drivers of Peatland Growth and Microtopography: A Model Demonstration
journal, January 2018


Atmosphere-wetland carbon exchanges: Scale dependency of CO 2 and CH 4 exchange on the developmental topography of a peatland
journal, June 1996

  • Waddington, J. M.; Roulet, N. T.
  • Global Biogeochemical Cycles, Vol. 10, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1029/95GB03871

An Instantaneous-Profile Laser Scanner to Measure Soil Surface Microtopography
journal, January 2003

  • Darboux, Frédéric; Huang, Chi-hua
  • Soil Science Society of America Journal, Vol. 67, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.2136/sssaj2003.9200

Northern peatland carbon stocks and dynamics: a review
journal, January 2012


Multifractal Analysis of Soil Surface Roughness
journal, May 2008

  • Moreno, R. García; Álvarez, M. C. Díaz; Requejo, A. Saa
  • Vadose Zone Journal, Vol. 7, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.2136/vzj2007.0016

SPRUCE S1 Bog Peat Depth Determined by Push Probe and GPR: 2009-2010
dataset, January 2012

  • Slater, L.; Hanson, P.; Hook, L.
  • ORNLTESSFA (Oak Ridge National Lab's Terrestrial Ecosystem Science Scientific Focus Area (ORNL TES SFA))
  • DOI: 10.3334/CDIAC/spruce.002

Three-dimensional model synthesis of the global methane cycle
journal, January 1991

  • Fung, I.; John, J.; Lerner, J.
  • Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 96, Issue D7
  • DOI: 10.1029/91JD01247

SPRUCE Microtopography of Experimental Plots Derived from Terrestrial Laser Scans Beginning in 2016
dataset, January 2019

  • Graham, J.; Glenn, N.; Spaete, L.
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  • DOI: 10.25581/spruce.068/1515553

Systems of Frequency Curves Generated by Methods of Translation
journal, January 1949


Microtopography of bare peat: a conceptual model and objective classification from high-resolution topographic survey data: Microtopography of bare peat
journal, January 2018

  • Smith, M. W.; Warburton, J.
  • Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, Vol. 43, Issue 8
  • DOI: 10.1002/esp.4336

Temperature and Microtopography Interact to Control Carbon Cycling in a High Arctic Fen
journal, November 2007


The Influence of Water Table Levels on Methane and Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Peatland Soils
journal, February 1989

  • Moore, T. R.; Knowles, R.
  • Canadian Journal of Soil Science, Vol. 69, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.4141/cjss89-004

Effect of Water Level on Desiccation of Sphagnum in Relation to Surrounding Sphagna
journal, December 1985


A Noncontact Laser System for Measuring Soil Surface Topography
journal, March 1988


Species-Controlled Sphagnum Decay on a South Swedish Raised Bog
journal, June 1991

  • Johnson, Loretta C.; Damman, Antoni W. H.
  • Oikos, Vol. 61, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.2307/3545341

The Spatial Heterogeneity of Vegetation, Hydrology and Water Chemistry in a Peatland with Open-Water Pools
journal, February 2019


Portable Laser Scanner for Measuring Soil Surface Roughness
journal, September 1990


Representing northern peatland microtopography and hydrology within the Community Land Model
journal, January 2015


Controls on the Carbon Balance of Tropical Peatlands
journal, November 2008


Vertical zonation of Sphagnum mosses along hummock-hollow gradients
journal, December 1983

  • Andrus, Richard E.; Wagner, Daniel J.; Titus, John E.
  • Canadian Journal of Botany, Vol. 61, Issue 12
  • DOI: 10.1139/b83-352

Quantifying wetland microtopography with terrestrial laser scanning
journal, October 2019

  • Stovall, Atticus E. L.; Diamond, Jacob S.; Slesak, Robert A.
  • Remote Sensing of Environment, Vol. 232
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2019.111271

SPRUCE Large-Collar In Situ CO2 and CH4 Flux Data for the SPRUCE Experimental Plots: Whole-Ecosystem-Warming
dataset, January 2017

  • Hanson, P.; Phillips, J.; Riggs, J.
  • ORNLTESSFA (Oak Ridge National Lab's Terrestrial Ecosystem Science Scientific Focus Area (ORNL TES SFA))
  • DOI: 10.3334/CDIAC/spruce.034

Sphagnum Macrostructure as an Indicator of Decay and Compaction in Peat Cores from an Ombrotrophic South Swedish Peat-Bog
journal, September 1990

  • Johnson, Loretta C.; Damman, Antoni W. H.; Malmer, Nils
  • The Journal of Ecology, Vol. 78, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.2307/2260889

Local Spatial Heterogeneity of Holocene Carbon Accumulation throughout the Peat Profile of an Ombrotrophic Northern Minnesota Bog
journal, May 2018

  • McFarlane, Karis J.; Hanson, Paul J.; Iversen, Colleen M.
  • Radiocarbon, Vol. 60, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.1017/RDC.2018.37

Factors controlling large scale variations in methane emissions from wetlands: METHANE EMISSIONS FROM WETLANDS
journal, April 2003

  • Christensen, Torben R.; Ekberg, Anna; Ström, Lena
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 30, Issue 7
  • DOI: 10.1029/2002GL016848

Effect of surface roughness on the microwave emission from soils
journal, January 1979

  • Choudhury, B. J.; Schmugge, T. J.; Chang, A.
  • Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 84, Issue C9
  • DOI: 10.1029/JC084iC09p05699

Microtopography and methane flux in boreal peatlands, northern Ontario, Canada
journal, August 1993

  • Bubier, J.; Costello, A.; Moore, T. R.
  • Canadian Journal of Botany, Vol. 71, Issue 8
  • DOI: 10.1139/b93-122

Evolution of soil surface roughness and flowpath connectivity in overland flow experiments
journal, January 2002


Fluxes of CO2, CH4 and N2O from a Welsh peatland following simulation of water table draw-down: Potential feedback to climatic change
journal, January 1993

  • Freeman, C.; Lock, M. A.; Reynolds, B.
  • Biogeochemistry, Vol. 19, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1007/BF00000574

The Use of LiDAR Terrain Data in Characterizing Surface Roughness and Microtopography
journal, January 2013

  • Brubaker, Kristen M.; Myers, Wayne L.; Drohan, Patrick J.
  • Applied and Environmental Soil Science, Vol. 2013
  • DOI: 10.1155/2013/891534

Predicting Depressional Storage from Soil Surface Roughness
journal, September 2000

  • Kamphorst, E. C.; Jetten, V.; Guérif, J.
  • Soil Science Society of America Journal, Vol. 64, Issue 5
  • DOI: 10.2136/sssaj2000.6451749x

A Multi-Year Record of Methane Flux at the Mer Bleue Bog, Southern Canada
journal, April 2011


Dynamic Vertical Profiles of Peat Porewater Chemistry in a Northern Peatland
journal, October 2016


Distribution and Movement of Elements in Ombrotrophic Peat Bogs
journal, January 1978


Microtopography and vegetation in Atlantic white cedar swamps: the effects of natural disturbances
journal, March 1995

  • Ehrenfeld, Joan G.
  • Canadian Journal of Botany, Vol. 73, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.1139/b95-048

SPRUCE Terrestrial Laser Scans of Experimental Plots Beginning in 2015
dataset, January 2019

  • Graham, J. D.; Glenn, N. F.; Spaete, L. P.
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  • DOI: 10.25581/spruce.067/1515552

Global peatland initiation driven by regionally asynchronous warming
journal, April 2018

  • Morris, Paul J.; Swindles, Graeme T.; Valdes, Paul J.
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 115, Issue 19
  • DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1717838115

Modelling microtopography in boreal peatlands: hummocks and hollows
journal, July 2003