A mesocosm study of the effect of restoration on methane (CH4) emissions from blanket peat

Green, Sophie; Baird, Andy J.; Boardman, Carl P. and Gauci, Vincent (2014). A mesocosm study of the effect of restoration on methane (CH4) emissions from blanket peat. Wetlands Ecology and Management, 22(5) pp. 523–537.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11273-014-9349-3

Abstract

In a mesocosm study, we investigated the effect of different restoration methods on methane (CH4) emissions from, and the global warming potential (GWP) of, blanket peat. The controlled laboratory study involved two distinct components: Experiment 1 focused on greenhouse gas exchanges from blocked drains (grips) and evaluated the effects of restoration method, water-level dynamics and climate on CH4 emissions and GWP. Experiment 2 assessed the role of plant functional type (PFT) on CH4 emissions from restored peat outside of the grip. A nine month meteorological simulation (April–December) was completed, testing five hypotheses across the two experiments. We found that the method of grip blocking/damming does make a difference with respect to CH4 emissions and GWP. Of the methods considered, damming with no infill between the dams is preferred to either of the methods involving infilling (heather bale and re-profiling).

GWP of all within-grip restoration outcomes was positive (i.e., indicating a net warming effect), and was not influenced by climate or water-level regime. PFT influences CH4 emissions but not GWP in restored blanket bog. When considering radiative forcing, this finding suggests that it does not matter which PFT dominates a restored area. It is noted that the laboratory findings are, in some senses, preliminary because the experiments consider only a relatively short period immediately after restoration.

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