Peatlands are important due to their high carbon storage and carbon sequestration potential, with UK peatlands storing an estimated 2-5 billion tonnes of carbon. These ecosystems are often subjected to rotational prescribed
burning, as well as episodic uncontrolled wildfires. Biomass is consumed in fires where some is emitted to the atmosphere as gases and particulates, and some converted to charcoal.
Charcoal is sometimes referred to as black carbon (BC). Although only a small amount of BC may be produced in a fire, it is very rich in carbon, and work suggests that BC may persist in the environment for hundreds or even
thousands of years. The high carbon density and long residence time of BC make it an important part of the carbon cycle, yet the production and subsequent degradation of BC from peatland vegetation fires is under-researched.
My PhD will investigate the physical and chemical characteristics of BC produced under a range of burn conditions. In addition to this, degradation studies will be carried out in both field and laboratory to assess how elemental and
physical characteristics of BC change with sample exposure over time. This poster will outline the aims and key methods of planned research activities.