CR 59:103-115 (2014)  -  DOI:

Projected loss of active blanket bogs in Ireland

John Coll1,*, David Bourke2,3, Micheline Sheehy Skeffington2, Michael Gormally3, John Sweeney1

1Department of Geography, NUI Maynooth, Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ireland
2Botany and Plant Science, NUI Galway, Galway, Ireland
3Applied Ecology Unit, Centre for Environmental Science, NUI Galway, Galway, Ireland
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Active blanket bogs are ombrotrophic peatland systems of the boreo-temperate zones, although blanket peat tends to form only under the warmest and wettest of those conditions. In Europe, this is common only in Scotland and Ireland, coincident with the oceanic climate, and constitutes a significant global component of this ecosystem. Associated with this Atlantic distribution, Ireland has 50% of the remaining blanket bogs of conservation importance within the Atlantic Biogeographic Region of Europe. It is anticipated that future climate change will place additional pressure on these systems. Active blanket bog distributions in Ireland were modelled using 7 bioclimatic envelope modelling techniques implemented in the BIOMOD modelling framework. The 1961 to 1990 baseline models achieved a very good agreement with the observed distribution, and suggest a strong dependency on climate. The discrimination ability of the fitted models was assessed using the area under the curve (range 0.915 to 0.976) of a receiver operating characteristic plot. An ensemble prediction from all the models was computed in BIOMOD and used to project changes based on outputs from a dynamically downscaled climate change scenario for 2031 to 2060. The consistent predictions between the individual models for the baseline change substantially for the climate change projections, with losses of ~-82% to gains of ~+15% projected depending on the individual model type. However, small gains in climate space in the Midlands, east and northeast of the country projected by the consensus model are unlikely to be realised as it will not be possible for new habitat to form.

KEY WORDS: Active blanket bogs · Climate change · Bioclimatic envelope models · BIOMOD · Climate space

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Cite this article as: Coll J, Bourke D, Sheehy Skeffington M, Gormally M, Sweeney J (2014) Projected loss of active blanket bogs in Ireland. Clim Res 59:103-115.

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