Skip to main content
Conference abstract, 2012

Reed canary grass on an abandoned agricultural peat soil. Carbon dioxide emissions during two growing seasons after restoration.

Palmborg, Cecilia


In northern Scandinavia vast areas of agricultural land on peat soil have been abandoned the last 50 years. This land is still drained and thus carbon dioxide emissions can be substantial. Reed canary grass can be a suitable energy crop for some of the abandoned peatland that is easiest to restore. Reed canary grass is a perennial grass that can be harvested for more than ten years without reestablishment when successfully established. Nutrient recycling to the rhizomes makes the fertilizer demand low, and the crop sequesters CO2 by a large allocation of carbon to rhizomes and roots. A field near Malå in Sweden was restored using open ditches on one part and tile draining on another part and reed canary grass was sown in 2010. Carbon dioxide emissions were measured using the EGM 4 portable equipment from PP systems, water content was measured using profile probe PR2 and groundwater level was measured in ground water tubes using a "plopper" groundwater level meter. The first growing season there were higher carbon dioxide emissions and lower groundwater level and water content on the nearby field that was not restored, than on the reed canary grass field. The reason could to be compaction of peat on the restored field by agricultural machinery and higher transpiration and respiration from the dense grass vegetation on the abandoned field, than from the newly established reed canary grass. The second growing season, a randomized experiment with raised groundwater level was performed on the tile drained part. Neither carbon dioxide emissions nor the growth of the reed canary grass were affected by the higher groundwater level. In conclusion, there was no indication that restoration of abandoned agricultural field to reed canary grass production gave higher carbon dioxide emissions from decomposition of the peat substrate than the abandoned field. More research is needed to be able to quantify carbon dioxide emissions on a yearly basis from the field.

Published in

Publisher: NJF - Nordic Association of Agricultural Scientists


Symposium on "Agriculture and greenhouse gases". NJF Seminar 453

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Agricultural Research for Northern Sweden

UKÄ Subject classification

Agricultural Science
Renewable Bioenergy Research
Soil Science

URI (permanent link to this page)