EGU23-13920, updated on 09 Jan 2024
EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Greenhouse gas exchange of different fen paludicultures during establishment

Philipp Köwitsch1, Bärbel Tiemeyer1, Sonia Antonazzo1, and Ullrich Dettmann1,2
Philipp Köwitsch et al.
  • 1Thünen Institute of Climate-Smart Agriculture, Braunschweig, Germany
  • 2Institute of Soil Science, Leibniz University Hanover, Hanover, Germany

Conventional agriculture on peatlands requires drainage, but this practice causes high emissions of the greenhouse gases (GHG) carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxide (N2O). Paludiculture is an option to mitigate these adverse environmental effects while maintaining productive land use. Whereas the GHG exchange of paludiculture on rewetted bog peat, i.e. Sphagnum farming, is relatively well examined, data on GHG emissions from fen paludicultures is still very scarce. As typical fen paludiculture species are aerenchymous plants, the release of methane (CH4) is of particular interest when optimising the GHG balance of such systems. Topsoil removal is an option to reduce the CH4 emissions upon rewetting but retaining a nutrient rich topsoil might foster the biomass growth.

In this project, Typha angustifoliaTypha latifolia, and Phragmites australis are grown at a fen peatland formerly used as grassland. Water levels will be kept at the surface or slightly above it. In parts of the newly created polder surrounded by a peat dam, the topsoil is removed. Four smaller sub-polders are installed to separate the effects of topsoil removal and water level. Here, the water levels can be adjusted independently from the main polder. Greenhouse gas exchange is measured for all three species with and without topsoil removal. Additionally, a reference grassland site close by and a site on the dam are included in the measurements. GHG measurements are carried out every two to four weeks on a campaign basis using manual chambers and a portable analyser for both CH4 and CO2. Here we present GHG balances of the first two years after planting the paludicultures.

Despite of imperfect water management during the first year after planting, all paludiculture species were both a net CO2 and GHG sink regardless the topsoil treatment. During this period, fluctuating water levels resulted in low CH4 emissions while N2O emissions were of greater importance regarding the GHG balance. Due to more stable water levels in the second year, higher methane emissions are expected. Carbon export by the first biomass harvest will also be taken into account.

How to cite: Köwitsch, P., Tiemeyer, B., Antonazzo, S., and Dettmann, U.: Greenhouse gas exchange of different fen paludicultures during establishment, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 23–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-13920,, 2023.