EGU23-15706, 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 emissions from bog peatlands subjected to (potential) mitigation meausures

Bärbel Tiemeyer1, Christian Brümmer1, Ullrich Dettmann1,2, Dominik Düvel1, Sebastian Heller1, Jan Oestmann1, Liv Offermanns1, Arndt Piayda1, and Carla Welpelo1
Bärbel Tiemeyer et al.
  • 1Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institute, Thünen Institute of Climate-Smart Agriculture, Braunschweig, Germany
  • 2Institute of Soil Science, Leibniz University Hannover, Germany

Drained organic soils are large sources of anthropogenic greenhouse gases (GHG) in many European and Asian countries. In Germany, they account for more than 7% of the national GHG emissions. Carbon dioxide (CO2) forms the vast majority of emissions from these soils and is thus the main target for mitigation measures. Bog peatlands are mainly found in North-Western Germany and frequently used for high-intensity grassland use. Further, former peat extraction areas are restored for nature protection. While restoration has decades of tradition, paludiculture and active water management in agriculture are comparatively new.

Here, we will compile data on GHG exchange of bog peatlands and highlight recent results on water management by ditch blocking and subsurface irrigation, on Sphagnum paludiculture and on restored bog peatlands. Groundwater levels are usually considered as the major control for both CO2 and methane (CH4) emissions. The effects of water management on CO2 emissions are strongly depending on the site. Surprisingly, raising the groundwater level by subsurface irrigation in a grassland under bog peat to levels considered as acceptable even in restoration projects did not only fail to reduce CO2 emissions, but raised them compared to deeply drained control parcel. These results might be explained by an interaction of increased soil moisture in the topsoil and improved nutrient retention during phases of high soil temperatures and, at the same time, by limitations of microbial activity due to low soil moisture at the control parcels. However, at a second grassland site with subsurface irrigation, this did not occur, but a combination with grassland renewal caused extremely high nitrous oxide emissions. In contrast, both re-wetting for restoration purposes and Sphagnum farming reliably reduce GHG emission or may even lead to a carbon sink. Here, the effects of the groundwater level on CO2 and, even more, on CH4 emissions in a Sphagnum farming experiment were partially overridden by vegetation development dynamics.

How to cite: Tiemeyer, B., Brümmer, C., Dettmann, U., Düvel, D., Heller, S., Oestmann, J., Offermanns, L., Piayda, A., and Welpelo, C.: Greenhouse gas emissions from bog peatlands subjected to (potential) mitigation meausures, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 23–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-15706,, 2023.