Geomorphology of Upland Peat: Erosion, Form and Landscape Change / Edition 1

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The Geomorphology of Upland Peat offers a detailed synthesis of existing literature on peat erosion, incorporating new research ideas and data from two leading experts in the field.

  • Presents the most detailed and current work to date
  • Written in a style that is both intelligent and accessible
  • Fully illustrated with original drawings and photographs
  • Relevant and information for a broad audience working on organic sediments in various environments
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book is a timely, comprehensive and authoritative overview of recent research on peatland erosion and geomorphological change. It addresses a vacant niche in the wetland literature and takes forward the peatland research agenda in new and interesting directions."
β€”Dan Charman, University of Plymouth

"Peat is one of our most precious natural resources. This important textbook takes us through the many challenges of researching, understanding and restoring peatlands. Timely, instructive and comprehensive, this book has the distinction of being essential to academics as well as practical conservationists concerned with peat."
β€”Des Thompson, Scottish Natural Heritage and Joint Nature Conservation Committee

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405115070
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 7/3/2007
  • Series: RGS-IBG Book Series, #44
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 9.21 (w) x 6.14 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

Martin Evans is a reader in geomorphology at the University of Manchester.

Jeff Warburton is currently a reader in geomorphology in the Department of Geography at Durham University.

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Table of Contents

Series Editors' Preface


Figure and Table Acknowledgements

1 Introduction 1

1.1 The Aims of this Volume 1

1.1.1 Thematic coverage 1

1.1.2 Geographical context 2

1.2 Terminology, Definitions and Peatland Geomorphology 3

1.2.1 Definitions of Peat 3

1.2.2 The physical and geotechnical properties of peat 6

1.2.3 Peatland classification 6

1.3 The Geography of Blanket Mire Complexes 11

1.4 Patterns of Peat Erosion in Space and Time 15

1.4.1 The onset of peat erosion 18

1.4.2 Direct observation of the onset of erosion 20

1.5 Causes of Peat Erosion 21

1.6 A Brief History of the Evolution of Peatland Geomorphology 22

1.6.1 Accounts of erosion in the natural science tradition 23

1.6.2 Descriptive accounts of widespread peat erosion 23

1.6.3 Quantitative observations of blanket peatlands 24

1.7 Structure of this Volume and the Peat Landsystem Model 26

2 The Hydrology of Upland Peatlands 28

2.1 Introduction 28

2.2 Controls on Water Movement in Peat Landsystems 28

2.2.1 Hydraulic conductivity of upland peat soils 28

2.2.2 The diplotelmic mire hypothesis 30

2.2.3 Groundwater flow in upland peatlands 34

2.2.4 Evaporation 37

2.2.5 Runoff generation 38

2.2.6 The water balance of ombrotrophic mires 47

2.3 Geomorphology and the Hydrology of Upland Peatlands 49

3 Sediment Production 54

3.1 Introduction 54

3.1.1 Monitoring sediment production using erosion pins 54

3.1.2 Sediment trap data 56

3.2 Sediment Production as a Control on Catchment Sediment Flux 61

3.3 Evidence from Field Observation 65

3.3.1 Climate correlations with trap data 65

3.3.2 Direct observations of surface change 67

3.4 Evidence from Controlled Experiments 69

3.5 Timescales of Sediment Supply 73

3.6 Conclusion 74

4 Fluvial Processes and Peat Erosion 76

4.1 Introduction 76

4.2 Gully Erosion of Blanket Peat 76

4.2.1 Gully morphology and topology 77

4.2.2 Fluvial erosion in ephemeral hillslope gullies 81

4.2.3 Sediment delivery from hillslope gullies 85

4.3 Erosion and Transport of Peat in Perennial Stream Channels 87

4.3.1 Production of peat blocks by fluvial erosion 87

4.3.2 Transport of peat blocks in stream channels 91

4.3.3 The fate of fine peat sediment in channels 93

4.4 Sediment Yield 94

4.4.1 Bedload yields 94

4.4.2 Suspended sediment yields 94

4.4.3 Dissolved load 97

4.4.4 A conceptual model of sediment dynamics in eroding blanket peatlands 99

4.4.5 Sediment yield, sediment supply and assessing catchment erosion status 101

4.5 Conclusions 103

5 Slope Processes and Mass Movements 104

5.1 Introduction 104

5.2 Peat-Covered Hillslopes 108

5.2.1 Limits to the stability of peat on slopes 108

5.2.2 Creep on peat hillslopes 111

5.3 Morphology of Rapid Peat Mass Movements 112

5.3.1 Source zone 115

5.3.2 Rafted peat debris 116

5.3.3 Runout track 116

5.3.4 Secondary tension and compression features 118

5.3.5 Bog burst and peat slides - are they different? 120

5.4 Mechanism of Peat Failure 123

5.4.1 Speed of failure and movement 125

5.5 Significance of Surface Hydrology in Peat Failures 125

5.5.1 Water content, pore pressures, and volume changes 127

5.5.2 Rainfall 128

5.5.3 Slope drainage 128

5.6 Stability Analysis and Modelling of Peat Mass Movements 129

5.7 The Changing Frequency of peat Mass Movements Over Time 131

5.8 Summary and Overall Framework 133

6 Wind Erosion Processes 136

6.1 Introduction 136

6.2 The General Significance of Wind Erosion in Upland Peatlands 137

6.3 Mechanisms and Processes of Wind Erosion 140

6.4 Direct Measurements of Wind Erosion of Peat 146

6.5 Significance of Dry Conditions and Drought for Wind Erosion 150

6.6 Conclusions 153

7 Peat Erosion Forms - From Landscape to Micro-Relief 155

7.1 Rationale and Introduction 155

7.2 Macroscale - Region/Catchment Scale 158

7.3 Mesoscale - Slope Catena Scale 162

7.4 Microscale - Material Structure Scale 165

7.5 Linking the Geomorphological and the Ecohydrological 167

7.6 Conclusions 169

8 Sediment Dynamics, Vegetation and Landscape Change 171

8.1 Introduction 171

8.2 The Effect of Peatland Dynamics on Long-Term Sediment Budgets 172

8.3 Re-Vegetation of Eroding Peatlands 174

8.3.1 Artificial re-vegetation of bare peat surfaces 174

8.3.2 Natural re-vegetation of eroded landscapes 175

8.4 Controls and Mechanisms of Natural Re-Vegetation 178

8.4.1 Extrinsic controls on re-vegetation 178

8.4.2 Intrinsic controls on re-vegetation 181

8.4.3 Eriophorum spp. as keystone species for re-vegetation of eroded peatlands 185

8.4.4 Re-vegetation dynamics and long-term patterns of erosion 187

8.5 Stratigraphic Evidence of Erosion and Re-Vegetation 188

8.6 The Future of Blanket Peat Sediment Systems 190

8.7 Changes in Pollution 190

8.8 Climate Change Impacts 191

8.8.1 Increased summer drought 192

8.8.2 Increased winter rainfall intensity 193

8.8.3 Changes in the growing season and re-vegetation 194

8.8.4 Reduced frost frequency 194

8.8.5 Overall response of the peatland system 194

8.9 Relative Importance of Peat Erosion in Wider Upland Sediment Budgets 195

8.10 Conclusions 197

9 Implications and Conclusions 199

9.1 Implications of Widespread Peat Erosion 199

9.2 Upland Peatland Erosion and Carbon Budgets 199

9.2.1 Case study example: the Rough Sike carbon budget 201

9.3 Release of Stored Contaminants from Eroding Peatlands 205

9.4 Restoration of Eroded Upland Peatlands 209

9.4.1 Frameworks for restoration 209

9.4.2 Approaches to restoration 210

9.4.3 Implications of the landsystems model and sediment budget work for restoration 211

9.5 Conclusions 214

9.5.1 The nature of upland peatlands 214

9.5.2 Geomorphological processes in upland peatlands 215

9.5.3 The future of upland peatlands 216

9.5.4 Representativenes of the peat landsystem model 217

References 219

Index 251

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