Impact of Peatland Restoration on Soil Microbial Activity and Nematode Communities

Abstract

Urban and industrial developments were the reason for draining peatlands in the past which caused changes in their ecology. Restoration of the water regime aims to bring back their original functions. This study examines the natural recovery of peatland following re-wetting, blocking the drainage ditches. We used soil microbial activity, physicochemical properties and nematode communities as indicator taxa to describe restoration status five years after management. Data were compared to those obtained from adjacent degraded forest and meadow like habitats of former peatlands. Our results indicate that re-wetting had considerable effect to soil indices and nematodes. Soil moisture and organic carbon significantly increased, while pH has not changed. In contrast, soil enzymatic activity significantly decreased after re-wetting in the restored part of the peatland compared to the degraded habitats. These conditions were probably less favourable for small metazoans, because of their abundance; species number and diversity were significantly decreased after re-wetting management. The nematode trophic structure was also significantly degraded; the restored part of peatland had less omnivore and predators as well as plant parasites. We conclude that in respect to both biological indicators and basic soil properties analysed, blocking of drainage ditches creates capable conditions for natural peatland restoration.

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Acknowledgements

The study was financially covered by the project of Slovak scientific agency VEGA No. 2/0013/16.

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Correspondence to Lenka Bobuľská.

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Bobuľská, L., Demková, L., Čerevková, A. et al. Impact of Peatland Restoration on Soil Microbial Activity and Nematode Communities. Wetlands 40, 865–875 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13157-019-01214-2

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Keywords

  • Peatland
  • Regeneration
  • Carbon sequestration
  • Microbial activity
  • Nematode
  • Indicators