PEATNET: A new initiative to coordinate research in boreal peatlands.
Vitt, Dale*,1, 1 Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL, USA
ABSTRACT- PEATNET (Peatland Ecosystem Analysis and Training NETwork) is an international, interdisciplinary collaborative effort that focuses on northern peatland ecosystems. PEATNET activities focuses on a central question: How do the structure and function of northern peatland ecosystems respond with respect to climate change and human and natural disturbances over past, present, and future time scales? Northern peatlands have accumulated of the world's soil carbon, yet occupy only about 3% of the Earth's land surface. The future of these vast carbon stores, however, is in question, given ongoing and future climate change and natural/human disturbance regimes. Two overarching goals of PEATNET are to encourage and foster interactions among scientists at various stages of their careers and to enhance the education and training of the next generation of peatland ecosystem ecologists. PEATNET will: 1) establish a website that will serve as the public countenance for PEATNET, as the mechanism to coordinate PEATNET activities and communicate findings and outcomes, and as the location of a peatland web-discussion group and the PEATNET Virtual Resource Center; 2) conduct annual targeted network retreats (3–5 days) coupled to training the next generation of peatland scientists; 3) conduct more specifically focused workshops (1–2 days) in association with international and/or national meetings, also coupled to training the next generation of peatland scientists; 4) establish and maintain the PEATNET Virtual Resource Center, which will post 50 Classical Papers in Peatland Ecosystem Ecology, as well as titles of peatland-relevant papers accepted for publication, but that not yet appeared; 5) produce and post on the website a web-based peatland manager's handbook, the PEATGUIDE; and 6) produce and post on the website a series of popular articles aimed at heightening public awareness of the importance of peatland functions and values, as well as a pictorial guide to northern peatlands, the WEBGUIDE. The PEATNET Steering Committee will actively promote participation in the network. PEATNET will provide a virtual and actual mechanism for fostering cooperation and collaboration among peatland researchers from different countries and with different disciplinary approaches to peatland ecosystem science.
Key words: boreal peatlands, carbon, research networks
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