Canadian Forest Service Publications

Canadian Model for Peatlands Version 1.0: a model design document. 2016. Shaw, C.H.; Bona, K.A.; Thompson, D.K.; Dimitrov, D.D.; Bhatti, J.S.; Hilger, A.B.; Webster, K.L.; Kurz, W.A. Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Northern Forestry Centre, Edmonton, Alberta. Information Report NOR-X-425. 20 p.

Year: 2016

Available from: Northern Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 37017

Language: English

Series: Information Report (NoFC - Edmonton)

CFS Availability: PDF (download)


A three-year forested peatland modeling project, funded by the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement, was developed in response to the need for national-scale greenhouse gas estimates from the extensive peatlands in Canada’s forested area. This document describes the design plan for one component of the project: version 1.0 of the Canadian Model for Peatlands (CaMP v1.0). The CaMP v1.0 will be developed as a module for the Carbon Budget Model of the Canadian Forest Sector (CBM-CFS), which is used to meet national and international greenhouse gas reporting requirements but currently only accounts for upland forest systems. The CaMP is intended to simulate carbon (C) stock changes and emissions in the top 100 cm of peat, which is most responsive to climatic and edaphic change and most susceptible to anthropogenic and natural disturbances, over contemporary (1990 to present) and future (10 to 100 years ahead) time frames. The CaMP will be compatible with the newest modeling framework of the CBM-CFS and is designed for application at multiple scales (site level to national level) and for spatially referenced (polygon based) and spatially explicit (raster based; ≥ 30 m resolution) modeling approaches. The CaMP will simulate annual growth and decay of live and dead C pools (originating from a woody layer [roots, stems, and foliage], a moss layer [feather moss and sphagnum], and a sedge layer [roots and foliage]), which will eventually be transferred to an oxic peat layer (acrotelm) and then a water-saturated peat layer (catotelm). The CaMP will be calibrated and tested for 11 peatland categories, representing different combinations of tree canopy cover (forested, treed, or open) and wetland classification (bog, poor fen, rich fen, or swamp). These peatland categories will be mapped for Canada in another component of the project to allow for national-scale estimates of peatland C emissions and removals. Methane emissions will be modeled as a proportion of the total C emitted that is a function of water table depth. The CaMP v1.0, described here, will be built assuming a static water table estimated for each combination of peatland category and ecozone. Version 2.0 of the CaMP will include a dynamic water table modeled as a function of a regional drought code and include moisture and temperature modifiers to decay and growth functions with the aim of providing future predictions of peatland C budgets in response to climate change, including permafrost thaw. It will also include modeling of natural and anthropogenic disturbance effects.

Plain Language Summary

Changing the concentration of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere can result in changes to the climate. Greenhouse gases come from natural processes and human activities. Canada needs to calculate the amount of GHGs that move between peatlands and the atmosphere to be able to report on GHGs nationally and internationally. To calculate the GHGs from peatlands we need to use a computer model because we cannot measure all the GHGs from Canada’s large peatland area. First we need to describe the design of the computer model that provides the steps to build the model. The name of our computer model is the Canadian Model for Peatland Simulations (CaMP). This document describes the structure of the CaMP, how it will work, the reasons for our choices, and what kind of data we need to collect to build the CaMP. Having a good design helps us to build a better computer model to calculate the GHG emissions from peatlands, which can help Canada meet its reporting obligations.

Date modified: