Methane and carbon dioxide fluxes from open and blocked ditches in a blanket bog

Green, Sophie M.; Baird, Andy J.; Evans, Chris D.; Peacock, Mike; Holden, Joseph; Chapman, Pippa J.; Smart, Richard P.. 2018 Methane and carbon dioxide fluxes from open and blocked ditches in a blanket bog. Plant and Soil.

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Background and aims: There is growing interest in how the rewetting of drained peatlands can restart their carbon (C) sink function. However, there are few studies on the effect of ditch blocking on the within-ditch C balance. For a UK blanket bog we assessed how methane (CH4) emissions, net ecosystem exchange (NEE), and the overall greenhouse gas (GHG) balance expressed as carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2-e) responded to ditch blocking. Methods: We conducted a fully replicated field trial on a blanket bog in the Upper Conwy catchment, North Wales, UK. Twelve parallel ditches, that ran approximately downslope, were investigated. Four were left open, four had peat dams installed at intervals of a few metres along their length, and four were partially infilled with peat (reprofiled) and dammed. For a period of four years after blocking, we measured peatland-atmosphere fluxes of CH4 and CO2 within the ditches. Results: CH4 fluxes, NEE and overall GHG balance (expressed in terms of CO2-e) in the experimental area showed no evidence of varying systematically between the different types of ditch treatment (open, dammed, and reprofiled). In addition, there was little evidence that CH4 fluxes or CO2-e balance changed systematically with time since blocking. Conclusions: We found no evidence of consistent differences between blocking treatments in terms of CH4 emissions or overall CO2-e balance. There was high spatial and temporal variability in CO2 and CH4 fluxes within each treatment. We did not observe a post-blocking ‘spike’ in CH4 fluxes.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
CEH Sections/Science Areas: Soils and Land Use (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 0032-079X
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: methane, net ecosystem exchange, GHG balance, ditch blocking, blanket bog (peatland)
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Agriculture and Soil Science
Atmospheric Sciences
Date made live: 30 Jan 2018 15:25 +0 (UTC)

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