The IPA-endorsed ‘Belowground Carbon Pools in Permafrost Regions’ (CAPP) Project has now been completed after a 10-year period (2005-2014).
After an initial planning meeting in Stockholm (March 2005), there have been three CAPP workshops in Stockholm (November 2005, June 2009 and May 2014). The 3rd and final CAPP workshop was held at Stockholm University on 12-14 May 2014 (program). The workshop was attended by 50+ experts and young
scientists and resulted in 2.5 days of presentations and intense discussions.

CAPP was also a full coordination project (#373) under the IPY (2007-2008), and CAPP has contributed to outreach activities such as IPY Land and Life (2008) and the IPY Oslo Conference (2010). There have been three CAPP review papers (Kuhry et al., 2009, 2010 and 2013), all published in Permafrost and Periglacial Processes. The issue of the permafrost carbon feedback has become and will remain an important topic on the international science agenda.

The CAPP Project:

The International Permafrost Association 'Carbon Pools in Permafrost Regions' project (in short, the IPA CAPP project) aims at quantifying below-ground organic matter quantity and quality along ecoclimatic and edaphic gradients in high latitude and high altitude regions characterized by the presence of isolated to continuous permafrost. Below-ground carbon is used here in a broad sense to include upland soils and total peat deposits. Also other sub-surface carbon pools in land areas such as lake deposits and buried ice bodies are considered. The CAPP project will coordinate its activities with other international programs and develop a network of scientists engaged in this type of research. A first step is to update the existing database on Carbon in Cryosols with additional data, also from non-permafrost sites in permafrost regions. The CAPP project will contribute to and initiate new research activities at ca. 10-12 high latitude transects in the northern hemisphere representing the range of ecoclimatic and permafrost regions, complemented by 2 transects in the Subantarctic-Antarctic region, and additional altitudinal transects in high alpine environments.

Intensive study sites along these transects will investigate the allocation of below-ground carbon in the landscape, comparing quantity and quality between different permafrost settings. The organic matter will be analyzed using a hierarchy of increasingly sophisticated geochemical and absolute dating techniques.

Protocols are developed for the carbon database, field sampling, physico-chemical analyses and upscaling tools. The inventory, monitoring, research and upscaling activities of the CAPE project will result in a better understanding of total below-ground organic matter allocation and its susceptibility to decay, which will be used to evaluate the fate of this very significant carbon pool under global warming and assess feedbacks from high latitude/altitude permafrost regions to the global climate system. An important objective is to develop a carbon database that can be linked with remotely sensed classifications at global to regional scales used in climate, biome and ecosystem models

CAPP is the IPA contribution to the Global Carbon Project.