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Klaus, Frederika, 2022. Impacts of peatland drainage on soil properties : a study of drainage effects on boreal peatlands in northern Sweden. Second cycle, A2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Forest Ecology and Management

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Abstract

Peatlands cover approximately 3% of the terrestrial surface on Earth and perform several important
ecosystem functions, such as carbon storage and water retention. During the late 19th and early 20th
centuries, approximately 2 million hectares of peatlands in Sweden were drained to manage the land
for forestry and agriculture. Peatland drainage has since become a more regulated practice, and
several projects are underway to rewet drained peatlands to restore their important ecosystem
functions. Though the rewetting of peatlands restores the saturated conditions, the effects of drainage
on the chemical and physical properties of peat can potentially still have an impact on
biogeochemical processes following restoration. The aim of this thesis is therefore to investigate the
intermediate drainage period to identify its effects on several key peat properties.
This project utilized data collected in 2020 from three drained and four natural peatlands
in northern Sweden. Peat cores were collected to a depth of 50 cm, and the studied variables were
dry bulk density, organic matter content, C:N ratio, carbon content, nitrogen content, δ
13C, and δ15N.
Groundwater data recorded in 2021 was also included from four of the seven peatlands.
The organic matter content and dry bulk density showed the most significant difference
between the natural and drained peatlands. In both cases, these differences were primarily at 10-20
cm depth, where the drained peatlands had a higher bulk density and lower organic matter content
than the natural. These patterns are indicative of drainage effects, as it enables greater compaction
of the soil and increased decomposition rates. The C:N ratio, carbon content, nitrogen content, δ
13C,
and δ
15N did not show a statistically significant difference between the natural and drained peatlands.
The impact on dry bulk density has implications for peatland water retention and the loss
of organic matter may affect carbon storage abilities. Impacts on carbon and nitrogen dynamics were
less clear and warrant further study. As peatland rewetting initiatives are implemented, it is
important to further our understanding of drainage impacts on peatlands in order to carry out
successful and effective restoration projects.

Main title:Impacts of peatland drainage on soil properties
Subtitle:a study of drainage effects on boreal peatlands in northern Sweden
Authors:Klaus, Frederika
Supervisor:Smeds, Jacob
Examiner:Wallin, Marcus
Series:UNSPECIFIED
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2022
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:NM029 Soil, Water and Environment - Master's Programme, 120.0hp
Supervising department:(S) > Dept. of Forest Ecology and Management
Keywords:Boreal peatlands, Bulk density, Carbon, Greenhouse gas, Isotopes, Nitrogen, Organic matter, Peatlands, Peatland drainage, Peatland restoration
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-s-18133
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-s-18133
Subjects:Nature conservation and land resources
Soil science and management
Soil biology
Language:English
Deposited On:16 Aug 2022 10:17
Metadata Last Modified:17 Aug 2022 01:00

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