Bjørn Kløve

Research Professor

(+358) 40 594 45 14
bjorn.klove@nibio.no

Place
Ås F20

Visiting address
Fredrik A. Dahls vei 20, 1430 Ås

Abstract

Cultivated organic soils account for ∼7% of Norway’s agricultural land area, and they are estimated to be a significant source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The project ‘Climate smart management practices on Norwegian organic soils’ (MYR), commissioned by the Research Council of Norway (decision no. 281109), aims to evaluate GHG (e.g. carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide) emissions and impacts on biomass productivity from three land use types (cultivated, abandoned and restored) on organic soils. At the cultivated sites, impacts of drainage depth and management intensity will be measured. We established experimental sites in Norway covering a broad range of climate and management regimes, which will produce observational data in high spatiotemporal resolution during 2019-2021. Using state-of-the-art modelling techniques, MYR aims to predict the potential GHG mitigation under different scenarios. Four models (BASGRA, DNDC, Coup and ECOSSE) will be further developed according to the soil properties, and then used independently in simulating biogeochemical processes and biomass dynamics in the different land uses. Robust parameterization schemes for each model will be based in the observational data from the project for both soil and crop combinations. Eventually, a multi-model ensemble prediction will be carried out to provide scenario analyses by 2030 and 2050. By integrating experimental results and modelling, the project aims at generating useful information for recommendations on environment-friendly use of Norwegian peatlands.

Abstract

Cultivated organic soils (7-8% of Norway’s agricultural land area) are economically important sources for forage production in some regions in Norway, but they are also ‘hot spots’ for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The project ‘Climate smart management practices on Norwegian organic soils’ (MYR; funded by the Research Council of Norway, decision no. 281109) will evaluate how water table management and the intensity of other management practices (i.e. tillage and fertilization intensity) affects both GHG emissions and forage’s quality & production. The overall aim of MYR is to generate useful information for recommendations on climate-friendly management of Norwegian peatlands for both policy makers and farmers. For this project, we established two experimental sites on Norwegian peatlands for grass cultivation, of which one in Northern (subarctic, continental climate) and another in Southern (temperate, coastal climate) Norway. Both sites have a water table level (WTL) gradient ranging from low to high. In order to explore the effects of management practices, controlled trials with different fertilization strategies and tillage intensity will be conducted at these sites with WTL gradients considered. Meanwhile, GHG emissions (including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide), crop-related observations (e.g. phenology, production), and hydrological conditions (e.g. soil moisture, WTL dynamics) will be monitored with high spatiotemporal resolution along the WTL gradients during 2019-2021. Besides, MYR aims at predicting potential GHG mitigation under different scenarios by using state-of-the-art modelling techniques. Four models (BASGRA, Coup, DNDC and ECOSSE), with strengths in predicting grass growth, hydrological processes, soil nitrification-denitrification and carbon decomposition, respectively, will be further developed according to the soil properties. Then these models will be used independently to simulate biogeochemical and agroecological processes in our experimental fields. Robust parameterization schemes will be based on the observational data for both soil and crop combinations. Eventually, a multi-model ensemble prediction will be carried out to provide scenario analyses by 2030 and 2050. We will couple these process-based models with optimization algorithm to explore the potential reduction in GHG emissions with consideration of production sustenance, and upscale our assessment to regional level.

To document

Abstract

Management of peat soils is regionally important as they cover large land areas and have important but conflicting ecosystems services. A recent management trend for drained peatlands is the control of greenhouse gases (GHG) by changes in agricultural practices, peatland restoration or paludiculture. Due to complex antagonistic controls of moisture, water table management can be difficult to use as a method for controlling GHG emissions. Past studies show that there is no obvious relationship between GHG emission rates and crop type, tillage intensity or fertilization rates. For drained peat soils, the best use options can vary from rewetting with reduced emission to efficient short term use to maximize the profit per amount of greenhouse gas emitted. The GHG accounting should consider the entire life cycle of the peatland and the socio-economic benefits peatlands provide locally. Cultivating energy crops is a viable option especially for wet peat soils with poor drainage, but harvesting remains a challenge due to tractability of wet soils. Paludiculture in lowland floodplains can be a tool to mitigate regional flooding allowing water to be stored on these lands without much harm to crops. This can also increase regional biodiversity providing important habitats for birds and moisture tolerant plant species. However, on many peatlands rewetting is not possible due to their position in the landscape and the associated difficulty to maintain a high stable water table. While the goal of rewetting often is to encourage the return of peat forming plants and the ecosystem services they provide such as carbon sequestration, it is not well known if these plants will grow on peat soils that have been altered by the process of drainage and management. Therefore, it is important to consider peat quality and hydrology when choosing management options. Mapping of sites is recommended as a management tool to guide actions. The environmental status and socio-economic importance of the sites should be assessed both for continued cultivation but also for other ecosystem services such as restoration and hydrological functions (flood control). Farmers need advice, tools and training to find the best after-use option. Biofuels might provide a cost-efficient after use option for some sites. Peat extraction followed by rewetting might provide a sustainable option as rewetting is often easier if the peat is removed, starting the peat accumulation from scratch. Also this provides a way to finance the after-use. As impacts of land use are uncertain, new policies should consider multiple benefits and decisions should be based on scientific evidence and field scale observations. The need to further understand the key processes and long term effects of field scale land use manipulations is evident. The recommended actions for peatlands should be based on local condition and socio-economic needs to outline intermediate and long term plans.

To document

Abstract

Peatland drainage results in several environmental impacts such as release of greenhouse gas to the atmosphere and leaching of nutrients to watercourses. These hazardous environmental effects can partly be controlled with soil management, and different drainage and remediation practices. Grading is a new method developed for soils with low conductivity suffering from poor drainage, water logging and ice. The soil surface is graded towards the ditch to increase surface runoff and drainage. The present study compares environmental effects of peatland grading compared to traditional intense pipe drainage. Detailed measurements of hydrology, climate, leaching and gas emissions were carried out at adjacent drainage areas with grass cultivation. Additional measurements were made at plots that were abandoned, cultivated with perennial crops, and remained as pristine peatlands. The results show that the leaching of nutrients is highest from pipe drainage. Climate gas emission was considerably higher at all managed sites than from the reference pristine site. Drainage, soil hydrology and soil nutrient status seemed to control gas emissions. The gas emissions were higher than assumed for Norwegian cold conditions. The results confirm observations made on peat soils in other climatic regions. The highest emissions of CO2 was observed when the soil temperature was high and groundwater table low. The N2O emission showed a large variation with no clear pattern. However, at some locations it peaked after a dry period when NO3-N was leached. More CH4 was emitted from the intensively drained site than the graded site, but more CO2 was emitted from the graded site. The difference in leaching and emission properties is partly due to differences in near surface hydrology. At grade sites, a faster runoff response to rainfall occur probably due to shallow throughfall or overland flow which provides better drainage. Also, the graded site was prepared recently, and this can have exposed fresh peat for decay. Therefore the drainage history must be well known in peatland studies as peat change in time due to drainage and cultivation. Abandoned peat field continue to leach greenhouse gases in a same way as cultivated sites.