Peatlands are central ecosystems in reducing GHG emissions from the Norwegian agriculture sector. The MYR project explores the potential of raised water level, both in restored and cultivated peatlands, to mitigate GHG emissions. More specifically, MYR will provide tools to support decision-making in Norway. Those tools will be based on ground truth, i.e. data collected from various organic soil systems) and yield models to help stakeholders to develop sustainable policies for organic soils. We have carried out a broad data collection from Northern Europe and various models to be used to estimate GHG emissions under different management options have been calibrated for organic soils using those data. Field measurements for hydrology and agrology have been continued and measurements of GHG emissions have been started at project study sites. First model results show that elevating water table at cultivated peatlands is central in diminishing GHG emissions.
MYR will investigate management practises of Norwegian organic soils, with a specific scope on how significant reductions in GHG (CO2, CH4, N2O) emissions can be achieved by 2030/2050. Specifically, we will investigate: 1) GHG savings from grasslands, which is the main land use of organic soils in Norway, with hydrological regulation (i.e. elevated water table). 2) The potential of plant species selection in mitigating GHG emissions and in sustaining food production under elevated water table. 3) GHG reductions and biodiversity impacts of restoration of abandoned organic soils. We will further provide tools to support decision making, specifically for Norway, based on ground truth (data collected from various organic soil systems) and yield models, exploiting newly generated experimental data, combined to a comprehensive simplified model with metamodeling approach, to help stakeholders with developing sustainable policies for organic soils. We aim at synthesizing the current knowledge on management practises from Norwegian and Northern European organic soils with regards to GHG emissions, food production and socio-economic aspects by integrating MYR with on-going Norwegian research projects on organic soils and with the ERA-GAS project (PeatWise) coordinated by NIBIO. In order to secure maximum national outreach, MYR is designed and will be executed in close collaboration with the NIBIO team reporting emissions to UNFCCC national inventory and the projects stakeholder board, which consists of representatives from Agricultural and Environmental Agencies, regional policy makers (Fylkesmannen) and farmers organizations.