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Mass Balances of a Drained and a Rewetted Peatland: on Former Losses and Recent Gains

Mass Balances of a Drained and a Rewetted Peatland: on Former Losses and Recent Gains

Soil Systems 4(1): 16

ISSN/ISBN: 2571-8789

DOI: 10.3390/soilsystems4010016

Drained peatlands are important sources of greenhouse gases and are rewetted to curb these emissions. We study one drained and one rewetted fen in terms of losses-and, after rewetting-gains of organic matter (OM), carbon., and peat thickness. We determined bulk density (BD) and ash/OM (and C/OM) ratios for 0.5 cm thick contiguous slices from peat monoliths to calculate losses. Whereas one site has lost 28.5 kg OM m(-2) corresponding to annual emissions of similar to 10 t CO2 ha(-1) a(-1) over 50 years of effective drainage, the other site has lost 102 kg OM m(-2), corresponding to an annual loss of similar to 30 t CO2 ha(-1) a(-1) for 30 years of intensive drainage and 6 t CO2 ha(-1) a(-1) during similar to 225 years of weak drainage before that. Height losses ranged from 43 to 162 cm. In the 20 years after rewetting, 2.12 kg C m(-2) was accumulated, equaling an average annual uptake of similar to 0.4 kg CO2 m(-2) a(-1). The results indicate that rewetting can lead to carbon accumulation in fens. This sink function is only small compared with the high emissions that are avoided through rewetting.

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Accession: 070995894

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