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Title: Impact of forest-to-bog restoration on greenhouse gas fluxes
Author: Hermans, Renee Elisabeth Maria
ISNI:       0000 0004 7226 9906
Awarding Body: University of Stirling
Current Institution: University of Stirling
Date of Award: 2018
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Large areas of northern peatlands have been drained and afforested in the second half of the 20th century with significant impacts on important ecosystem services, including loss of biodiversity and potential changes in C storage. A considerable effort is currently invested into restoring original peatland function and ecosystem services, with an increasing area of newly restored peatland areas over recent years. However, the effect of restoration on the greenhouse gas (GHG) budget is unknown. This study is the first quantification of CO2, CH4 and N2O fluxes from forest-to-bog restoration sites spanning 0 to 17 years in age. Further, the impact of afforestation on peat decomposition is measured in situ, and the impact of afforestation on the biochemical composition of the peat in relation to CO2 and CH4 fluxes is investigated. Results show that forest-to-bog restoration is successful from a GHG perspective, since all three major GHG fluxes of the restoration sites are changing along the chronosequence towards the fluxes from near pristine bog sites. The peat decomposition rate under the forest plantations is a big part of the total soil respiration at 126.8 ± 14.7 g C m-2 y-1 (44% of total soil CO2 efflux) and our results indicate a slowing down of peat decomposition towards the near pristine bog. CH4 fluxes increase with restoration age, whilst all sites remain a small sink for N2O. I observed changes in peat quality and nutrient availability in the pore water under forests. Different CO2 fluxes between vegetation-free peat cores from different sites for the same temperature and water level show that these differences in peat quality and nutrient availability shape the biogeochemical processes in the peatlands. However only small differences in CH4 fluxes between sites were evident, suggesting that on its own (and in absence of biotic interactions under field conditions), forestry effects on CH4 flux are limited.
Supervisor: Subke, Jens Arne Sponsor: RSPB ; University of Stirling
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Greenhouse gasses ; peatland restoration ; Carbon dioxide ; Methane ; Nitrous oxide ; Peatlands--Environmental aspects--Great Britain ; Greenhouse gases