By Labiqah Iftikhar
Watercolour on Canvas 12"x 16"
Canada’s peatlands are one of the largest natural carbon store, known to be the most effective vegetation types to store carbon in the world. Researchers from McMaster University, University of Alberta, Waterloo, and Birmingham, discovered the severity of wildfire threats to these important ecosystems. They found that peatland margins burned deeper that their middles; and that bogs with better groundwater connections were less likely to burn deeper. This research is vital to help understand and identify hotspots on the peatland landscape, to allow for better wildfire mitigation strategies. Peatland restoration is also very important, as damaged peatlands can become a source of greenhouse gas emissions. My watercolour painting depicts the expanse of a Canadian peatland, with a wildfire starting to spread from its margins. The deeply polluting smoke hails ghosts of Carbon Dioxide molecules, one of the main heat-absorbing greenhouse gases causing global warming. We as individuals must work together to reduce our carbon footprint so we can work towards a greener future.
Hokanson H, Lukenbach MC, Devito KJ, Kettridge N, Petrone RM, Waddington JM. 2015. Groundwater connectivity controls peat burn severity in the Boreal Plains. Ecohydrology in press, doi: 10.1002/eco.1657.