Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Holocene carbon accumulation in the peatlands of northern Scotland

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Andrew HendersonORCiD



This is the final published version of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by International Mire Conservation Group and International Peatland Society, 2018.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


The response of peatland carbon accumulation to climate can be complex, with internal feedbacks and processes that can dampen or amplify responses to external forcing. Records of carbon accumulation from peat cores provide a record of carbon which persists as peat over long periods of time, demonstrating the long-term response of peatland carbon stocks to climatic events. Numerous records of long-term carbon accumulation exist globally. However, peatlands from oceanic climates, and particularly blanket bog, remain under-represented. Scottish bogs, which collectively have more than 475 separate palaeoecological records, may prove to be a valuable resource for studying the impact of environmental change on past rates of carbon accumulation. Here we present 12 records of carbon accumulation from the north of Scotland. We support these results with a further 43 records where potential carbon accumulation is inferred from published ages. These reveal a trend of high carbon accumulation in the early Holocene, declining in the mid-to-late Holocene. The trend is consistent with accumulation profiles from other northern peatlands and is likely to have been caused by climatic cooling. Considerable variability in carbon accumulation rates between locations is apparent for the mid-to-late Holocene. We attribute to hydrologically induced changes in carbon accumulation which are likely to be inconsistent between sites.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ratcliffe JL, Payne RJ, Sloan TJ, Smith B, Waldron S, Mauquoy D, Newton A, Anderson AR, Henderson A, Andersen R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Mires and Peat

Year: 2018

Volume: 23

Issue: 3

Pages: 1-30

Online publication date: 25/10/2018

Acceptance date: 25/10/2018

Date deposited: 26/10/2018

ISSN (electronic): 1819-754X

Publisher: International Mire Conservation Group and International Peatland Society


DOI: 10.19189/MaP.2018.OMB.347


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric