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From Understanding to Sustainable Use of Peatlands: The WETSCAPES Approach

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Landscape Ecology and Site Evaluation, Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of Rostock, J.-v.-Liebig-Weg 6, 18051 Rostock, Germany
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Soil Physics, Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of Rostock, J.-v.-Liebig-Weg 6, 18051 Rostock, Germany
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Landscape Ecology and Ecosystem Dynamics, Institute of Botany and Landscape Ecology, University of Greifswald, partner in the Greifswald Mire Centre, Soldmannstr. 15, 17487 Greifswald, Germany
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Grassland and Fodder Sciences, Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of Rostock, J.-v.-Liebig-Weg 6, 18051 Rostock, Germany
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Geodesy and Geoinformatics, Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of Rostock, J.-v.-Liebig-Weg 6, 18051 Rostock, Germany
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Experimental Plant Ecology, Institute of Botany and Landscape Ecology, University of Greifswald, partner in the Greifswald Mire Centre, Soldmannstr. 15, 17487 Greifswald, Germany
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Peatland Studies and Palaeoecology, Institute of Botany and Landscape Ecology, partner in the Greifswald Mire Centre, University of Greifswald, Soldmannstr. 15, 17487 Greifswald, Germany
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Soil Science, Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of Rostock, J.-v.-Liebig-Weg 6, 18051 Rostock, Germany
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Bacterial Physiology, Institute of Microbiology, partner in the Greifswald Mire Centre, University of Greifswald, Felix-Hausdorff-Straße 8, 17489 Greifswald, Germany
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Bioscience, Faculty of Technology, University of Aarhus, Vejlsovej 25, 8600 Silkeborg, Denmark
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Soil Syst. 2020, 4(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems4010014
Received: 20 January 2020 / Revised: 28 February 2020 / Accepted: 6 March 2020 / Published: 11 March 2020
Of all terrestrial ecosystems, peatlands store carbon most effectively in long-term scales of millennia. However, many peatlands have been drained for peat extraction or agricultural use. This converts peatlands from sinks to sources of carbon, causing approx. 5% of the anthropogenic greenhouse effect and additional negative effects on other ecosystem services. Rewetting peatlands can mitigate climate change and may be combined with management in the form of paludiculture. Rewetted peatlands, however, do not equal their pristine ancestors and their ecological functioning is not understood. This holds true especially for groundwater-fed fens. Their functioning results from manifold interactions and can only be understood following an integrative approach of many relevant fields of science, which we merge in the interdisciplinary project WETSCAPES. Here, we address interactions among water transport and chemistry, primary production, peat formation, matter transformation and transport, microbial community, and greenhouse gas exchange using state of the art methods. We record data on six study sites spread across three common fen types (Alder forest, percolation fen, and coastal fen), each in drained and rewetted states. First results revealed that indicators reflecting more long-term effects like vegetation and soil chemistry showed a stronger differentiation between drained and rewetted states than variables with a more immediate reaction to environmental change, like greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Variations in microbial community composition explained differences in soil chemical data as well as vegetation composition and GHG exchange. We show the importance of developing an integrative understanding of managed fen peatlands and their ecosystem functioning. View Full-Text
Keywords: fen; paludiculture; rewetting; drainage; matter fluxes; interdisciplinary fen; paludiculture; rewetting; drainage; matter fluxes; interdisciplinary
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Jurasinski, G.; Ahmad, S.; Anadon-Rosell, A.; Berendt, J.; Beyer, F.; Bill, R.; Blume-Werry, G.; Couwenberg, J.; Günther, A.; Joosten, H.; Koebsch, F.; Köhn, D.; Koldrack, N.; Kreyling, J.; Leinweber, P.; Lennartz, B.; Liu, H.; Michaelis, D.; Mrotzek, A.; Negassa, W.; Schenk, S.; Schmacka, F.; Schwieger, S.; Smiljanić, M.; Tanneberger, F.; Teuber, L.; Urich, T.; Wang, H.; Weil, M.; Wilmking, M.; Zak, D.; Wrage-Mönnig, N. From Understanding to Sustainable Use of Peatlands: The WETSCAPES Approach. Soil Syst. 2020, 4, 14.

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