Boreal peatlands may be vulnerable to projected changes in the wildfire regime under future climates. Extreme drying during the sensitive post-fire period may exceed peatland ecohydrological resilience, triggering long-term degradation of these globally significant carbon stocks. Despite these concerns, we show low peatland evapotranspiration at both the plot and landscape scale post-fire, in water-limited peatlands dominated by feather moss that are ubiquitous across continental western Canada. Low post-fire evapotranspiration enhance the resilience of carbon stocks in such peatlands to wildfire disturbance and reinforces their function as a regional source or water. Near-surface water repellency may provide an important, previously unexplored, regulator of peatland evapotranspiration that can induce low evapotranspiration in the initial post-fire years by restricting the supply of water to the peat surface.
- water repellency