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An incubation study of GHG flux responses to a changing water table linked to biochemical parameters across a peatland restoration chronosequence

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Yit Arn TehORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Large areas of northern peatlands have been drained and afforested with conifers in the 20 th century. This has led to changes in the hydrology of the peatlands, the quality and quantity of organic matter inputs and soil microbial communities, which are all likely to impact on greenhouse gas (GHG) fluxes. Considerable areas of these forest plantations are undergoing restoration, and our aim was to assess whether contrasting compositions of peat, in conjunction with hydrological changes in a controlled lab experiment, impact on GHG fluxes. We incubated vegetation free cores (at 8 °C) from a near-natural bog, restoration sites felled in 1998, 2006, 2012 and a current forest plantation at (a) low water tables, (b) high tables or (c) water tables that were changed from low to high. Results show that peat quality and nutrient availability in the pore water have been altered by the forest plantations, which resulted in dissimilar carbon dioxide (CO2) fluxes between the sites under the same temperature and water table conditions. Higher CO2 fluxes were found in the peat cores from the forest plantations than from sites that have undergone restoration and from the near-natural bog. However, there were few differences in methane (CH4) fluxes from the different sites, indicating that on its own (i.e., in the absence of biotic interactions under field conditions) the effects of forestry on CH4 flux are limited.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hermans R, Zahn N, Andersen R, Teh YA, Cowie N, Subke JA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Mires and Peat

Year: 2019

Volume: 23

Pages: 1-18

Print publication date: 30/03/2019

Acceptance date: 14/03/2019

Date deposited: 13/06/2019

ISSN (electronic): 1819-754X

Publisher: Mires and Peat


DOI: 10.19189/MaP.2018.DW.354


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