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Conference abstract2015

Prospects for new mire wetland restoration in Sweden following termination of peatland excavation.

Lundin, Lars; Jordan, Sabine; Lode, Elve; Nilsson, Torbjörn; Strömgren, Monika


The site-specific state and use of mires and peatla nds constrains possible restoration options. There is a long and widespread tradition in northern Europe of using mires for agriculture, forestry and peat harvesting. While drainage is often a prerequisite for use, it changes the mire status from a natural to an impacted state. Mire status determines conservat ion value but even slightly affected mires could be of great interest for preservation. This could lead to conflicts between protection and utilization. However, peatlands influenced by drainage activitie s may be the ones available for utilization but are anyhow considered for protection. At least 0.5 Mha of Swedish peatlands have been drained in unsuccessful attempts to improve forest production. Some of these drained areas might be suitable for peat excavation. Added to this is c. 15.000 ha in o ngoing or terminated peat excavation. After cessation of peat extraction, the excavated area mu st be restored to a hydrologically functioning wetland which could eventually form a new mire. Two such areas were investigated in SW Sweden both before rewetting and for almost 15 years afterwards. Ecological characteristics of the sites differed considerably, being reflected in the remaining peat conditions, established hydrology an d water chemistry. Vegetation and surface soil conditions changed with new spontaneous Sphagnum co lonisation. Changes in hydrology and hydrochemistry after rewetting relate to altered re dox conditions influencing especially pH, sulphur, nitrogen and phosphorus. The return of anaerobic co nditions in the sediments reduced peat decomposition. Peat site properties such as vegetat ion and chemical conditions affected greenhouse gas emissions. Both CO2 and CH4 emissions varied by site type but with an overall increase in CH4. The project was funded by the Swedish Energy Agency and the Swedish Peat Research Foundation.

Published in


SER 2015 : 6th World Conference on Ecological Restoration Towards Resilent Ecosystems Restoring the Urban, the rural and the Wild