EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Century-Scale Shifts in Peat Hydro-Physical Properties as Induced by Drainage

Haojie Liu1, Fereidoun Rezanezhad2, and Bernd Lennartz1
Haojie Liu et al.
  • 1University of Rostock, Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Rostock, Germany (
  • 2Ecohydrology Research Group, Water Institute and Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West, N2L 3G1, Waterloo, Canada

Hydro-physical properties of peat influence the partitioning of rainfall into infiltration versus runoff, determine water flow and solute transport patterns, and regulate the carbon and nitrogen cycles in peatlands. Although soil hydro-physical properties of peat soils are well documented, little is known about the temporal dynamics of soil properties, especially at a century-scale. A data set of peat subsidence as well as bulk density (BD) increase rate following artificial drainage was assembled from the literature. The collected data cover a time period of up to 215 years of land drainage for different land use types (forest and agriculture). The results show that the subsidence rate and soil BD increase rate generally depend on land drainage duration and land use. The most severe shift in soil pore structure of peat used for forest and agricultural occurs within the first 10 and 40 years of land drainage, respectively. Peatland drainage reduces the number of macropores (>50 μm) but increases ultramicro- and cryptoporosity (<5 μm). In the long term, peat subsidence is responsible for more than 85% of soil water storage loss. In conclusion, the derived functions between subsidence rate as well as BD increase rate and drainage duration provide a new method to estimate hydro-physical properties (pore structure and saturated hydraulic conductivity, specific yield, soil water storage) of peat at a century-scale. The derived hydro-physical parameter values can be used for long-term hydrological modelling (back- and forward), especially if measured hydraulic parameters of peat are not available. However, additional research is required to reduce uncertainty.

How to cite: Liu, H., Rezanezhad, F., and Lennartz, B.: Century-Scale Shifts in Peat Hydro-Physical Properties as Induced by Drainage , EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-13720,, 2020


Display file

Comments on the display

AC: Author Comment | CC: Community Comment | Report abuse

displays version 3 – uploaded on 07 May 2020, no comments
The .pdf version has been upload.
displays version 2 – uploaded on 06 May 2020
One more figure was provided.
  • CC1: Comment on EGU2020-13720, Martina Schlaipfer, 07 May 2020

    Dear authors,

    Unfortunately I am having problems with opening this presentation in PowerPoint. Would it be possible for you to provide it in PDF format?

    Thank you,


displays version 1 – uploaded on 05 May 2020, no comments