The carbon balance of peatlands is predicted to shift from a sink to a source this century. However, peatland ecosystems are still omitted from the main Earth System Models used for future climate change projections and they are not considered in Integrated Assessment Models used in impact and mitigation studies. Using evidence synthesized from the literature and an expert elicitation, the leading drivers of change that have impacted peatland carbon stocks during the Holocene are defined and quantified, and their effect during this century and the far future are predicted.

The authors also identify uncertainties and knowledge gaps among the scientific community and provide insight towards better integration of peatlands into modeling frameworks.

Given the importance of peatlands’ contribution to the global carbon cycle, this study shows that peatland science is a critical research area and that is  still have a long way to go to fully understand the peatland-carbon-climate nexus.