The Wetland Book pp 1321-1327 | Cite as

Managing Phosphorus Release from Restored Minerotrophic Peatlands

  • Domink ZakEmail author
  • Robert J. McInnesEmail author
  • Jörg GelbrechtEmail author
Reference work entry


The nutrient pollution of water bodies is a globally distributed environmental problem. An important strategy to mitigate the non-point phosphorus and nitrogen pollution is to restore minerotrophic riparian peatlands (also termed ‘fens’). Originally natural fens served important functions as sinks for nutrients and as hydrological buffers for downstream systems leading them to be referred to as the ‘kidneys’ of glacial landscapes in the Northern Hemisphere. However, long-term drainage and intensive agricultural use of such peatlands, in some European countries more than 90% have been drained, has induced severe changes in their physical and geochemical soil properties. Today, in face of pollution of water bodies, dramatic loss of animal and plant species and expected global warming there exist major attempts to restore the “kidneys of the landscapes”. However a full rehabilitation of lost ecological functions can be retarded for several decades (or centuries) in particular if degradation of upper soil layers is advanced. This paper provides empirical evidence based on field and lab experiments in Germany on the implications and effectiveness of different restoration strategies.


Helophytes Rewetting Topsoil removal Water pollution Wetlands 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland FisheriesIGBBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Department of BioscienceAarhus UniversityVejlsøvejDenmark
  3. 3.RM Wetlands and Environment LtdLittleworth, OxfordshireUK

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