Top soil removal reduces water pollution from phosphorus and dissolved organic matter and lowers methane emissions from rewetted peatlands
Top soil removal reduces water pollution from phosphorus and dissolved organic matter and lowers methane emissions from rewetted peatlands.
However, long-term drainage and intensive agricultural use make it unlikely that the original sink functions for nutrients and carbon (C) as well as low-nutrient conditions can be re-established within a human time perspective.
2.We hypothesised that the removal of the upper degraded peat layer can be a suitable measure to avoid the negative implications of excess mobilisation of P and C after rewetting.
To evaluate the effect of top soil removal (TSR) we performed lab and field experiments in six inundated peatlands in northern Germany without TSR compared to six inundated sites with TSR.
Although highly decomposed peat released more or less no methane, dissolved organic matter (DOM) mobilisation was highest in this substrate while less decomposed peat was characterized in general by lowest rates of mobilisation.
In conclusion, top soil removal (TSR) prior to rewetting can be a suitable method to avoid the negative consequences of the excess release of phosphorus (P) and carbon post-rewetting.
We developed a simple decision–support schematic to assist the peatland restoration process and to understand better the implications of TSR.
Despite the potential benefits TSR should not be declared as a universal method, as it requires detailed consideration prior to application.
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