Optimizing peatland restoration for climate change mitigation
Dr. Martha Graf
Leibniz Universität Hannover
Isntitut für Umweltplanung
Herrenhäuser Straße 2
Tel.: +49 - (0)511 762 3612
Fax: +49 - (0)511 762 3791
Peatland restoration has become a very pertinent topic in climate change mitigation due to the unique ability of peatlands to store carbon over a long period of time. Germany has been a world leader in peatland restoration with internationally the first law that obliged the restoration of industrial peatlands after use. Circa 15.000 ha of peatlands have been restored over the past 30 years and another 12.000 ha will be restored within the next 30 years. Restored peatlands create valuable habitat for flora and fauna and create C sinks. However, no studies have been undertaken to systematically investigate the development of restored peatlands in Germany.
The aim of this research project is to investigate a) to what extent peatland vegetation, in particular peat mosses (Sphagnum sp.), have re-colonized the restored sites b) what are the average total GHG emissions for restored sites, and c) is there a correlation between the vegetation, water level and total GHG emissions. Through multivariate statistics we will be able to identify abiotic factors (residual peat depth, water chemistry) and restoration techniques which are highly correlated with the establishment of peatland vegetation and low GHG emissions. This information will be used to formulate suggestions for future restoration projects as well as to spur research on improved restoration techniques.