Managing Phosphorus Release from Restored Minerotrophic Peatlands
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.
KeywordsHelophytes Rewetting Topsoil removal Water pollution Wetlands
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