Carbon Restore –The Potential of Restored Irish Peatlands for Carbon Uptake and Storage

Climate Change Research Programme - CCRP Report 15

Summary: CCRP Report 15 - David Wilson, Florence Renou-Wilson, Catherine Farrell, Craig Bullockand Christoph Müller

Published: 2012

ISBN: 978-1-84095-436-4

Pages: 32

Filesize: 2,214KB

Format: pdf

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The project assessed the potential economic value of restoration in terms of avoided losses and gains of C (€/tonne CO2-eq ha-1) through the use of a number of timeline scenarios. These followed the peatland from the cessation of peat extraction (Tzero), through rewetting (T1) and on to the present day (Tpresent). The results show that in the period T1 to Tpresent, an estimated 75 tonnes CO2-eq ha-1 was mitigated by the restoration actions at Bellacorick – resulting in an estimated value of €1506 ha-1 in avoided losses. In addition, net C sequestration at the peatland during the 12-month period of this study (Tpresent) was worth an estimated €118 ha-1 yr-1.

 The results from this study indicate that restoration at Bellacorick has been successful with regard to re-establishing the C sink function. This observation highlights the potential use of restored industrial cutaway peatlands for C offsetting. However, there are a number of caveats. Firstly, studies elsewhere have shown that inter-annual variation in GHG fluxes is a characteristic feature of peatlands in general. As such, care should be taken in interpreting the results presented in this report as they represent a single 12-month period only. Secondly, the ongoing dynamic changes in vegetation composition observed at the study site may lead to a similar level of change in GHG fluxes in the future. Thirdly, while the results from this study indicate that some aspects of ecological functioning have been restored at Bellacorick, it may not be possible to re-create conditions to the same extent in other degraded peatlands.

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