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FFL-JA-Forskningsmidlene for jordbruk og matindustri

Improving conditions for agricultural management of drained peatlands while reducing GHG emissions (PEATIMPROVE)

Alternative title: Betre agronomisk drift og reduserte klimagassutslepp på drenert myrjord

Awarded: NOK 4.4 mill.

Peatlands are important for forage production, in particular in regions of Norway where peatlands are abundant such as on the western and northern coasts. Peat soils have certain characteristics that make them good for agriculture, such as high water holding capacity, but other properties are problematic such as soil subsidence and compaction which is a challenge for farmers. In wet years, peatlands are often too wet, so drainage and mineral soil addition is often needed for improved trafficability and farming. If well managed and drained, peat soils provide good crops adding to local and regional food safety, and making farming economy viable. However, a main environmental impact of peatland drainage and cultivation is that it leads to considerable emission of greenhouse gases (GHG), which has received considerable attention in recent years due to its role in climate change. For reduced environmental footprint, farming should be carried out to limit GHG emissions while producing good and high value crops. PEATIMPROVE aims to improve the conditions for agricultural management of drained peatlands while reducing GHG emissions. PEATIMPROVE will study different drainage options and ?peat inversion? in particular as a promising management option for protecting peat from degradation while allowing for effective forage production. The main project experimental site is located at Fræna in the county Møre & Romsdal. Some other experimental sites will also be used to capture the variability in climate and hydrology that along with plant production and cultivation affect GHG processes in soils. PEATIMPROVE seeks to estimate the suitable area for peat inversion in Norway and upscale the effect of alternative drainage methods on GHG emissions. The project is a collaboration between different experts and stakeholders in soil, water management and plant studies from NIBIO (lead), NMBU, NORSØK, NLR and TINE SA (all NO), Univ. of Oulu and Luke (FI), and NUI/Galway(IE).

Improving conditions for agricultural management of drained peatlands while reducing GHG emissions (PEATIMPROVE) is a 4 year interdisciplinary project. Peatlands used for agriculture emit greenhouse gases (GHG), are poorly drained and easily waterlogged leading to poor trafficability and lost yield and yield quality. Novel management approaches for existing shallow peatlands in Norway are urgently needed to limit GHG emission and to sustain forage based agricultural activity in rural Norway, where peatlands are important for farming. PEATIMPROVE will study different drainage options and “peat inversion” in particular as a promising management option for protecting peat from degradation while allowing for effective forage production. The focus will be on alternatives for already drained peat soil in need for renewal, but the research will also aim to answer more general challenges with agriculture on peat soil. We will set up a series of sites to study soil properties, soil physics, hydrology, forage production potential, GHG emissions and carbon balances. The selected sites are representative for the regions where forage production on peat soil is common representing climatically different conditions. The studies outline controlling factors and links between plants, soil hydrology and GHG emissions. PEATIMPROVE seeks to estimate the suitable area for peat inversion in Norway by synthesizing different public available data from soil mapping. We will integrate the results using spatial data, modelling, databases and stakeholder surveys for upscaling and generalization to assess drainage potential, climate change effects, costs and benefits of “peat inversion” and the potential for GHG mitigation. The results are communicated professionally throughout the project. The project is a collaboration between NIBIO (lead), NMBU, NORSØK, NLR and TINE SA (all NO), Univ. of Oulu and Luke (FI), and National Univ. of Ireland (IE). A PhD student will be employed in the project.

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FFL-JA-Forskningsmidlene for jordbruk og matindustri