Fighting carbon loss of degraded peatlands by jump-starting ecosystem functioning with ecological restoration
Kareksela, S., Haapalehto, T., Juutinen, R., Matilainen, R., Tahvanainen, T., & Kotiaho, J. (2015). Fighting carbon loss of degraded peatlands by jump-starting ecosystem functioning with ecological restoration. Science of the Total Environment, 537 (December), 268-270. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.07.094
Published inScience of the Total Environment
DisciplineEkologia ja evoluutiobiologiaEpäorgaaninen ja analyyttinen kemiaLuonnontieteellinen osasto
© 2015 Elsevier B.V. This is a final draft version of an article whose final and definitive form has been published by Elsevier. Published in this repository with the kind permission of the publisher.
Degradation of ecosystems is a great concern on the maintenance of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Ecological restoration fights degradation aiming at the recovery of ecosystem functions such as carbon (C) sequestration and ecosystem structures like plant communities responsible for the C sequestration function. We selected 38 pristine, drained and restored boreal peatland sites in Finland and asked i) what is the long-term effect of drainage on the peatland surface layer C storage, ii) can restoration recover ecosystem functioning (surface layer growth) and structure (plant community composition) and iii) is the recovery of the original structure needed for the recovery of ecosystem functions? We found that drainage had resulted in a substantial net loss of C from surface layer of drained sites. Restoration was successful in regaining natural growth rate in the peatland surface layer already within 5 years after restoration. However, the regenerated surface layer sequestered C at a mean rate of 116.3 g m− 2 yr− 1 (SE 12.7), when a comparable short-term rate was 178.2 g m− 2 yr− 1 (SE 13.3) at the pristine sites. The plant community compositions of the restored sites were considerably dissimilar to those of pristine sites still 10 years after restoration. We conclude that ecological restoration can be used to jump-start some key peatland ecosystem functions even without the recovery of original ecosystem structure (plant community composition). However, the re-establishment of other functions like C sequestration may require more profound recovery of conditions and ecosystem structure. We discuss the potential economic value of restored peatland ecosystems from the perspective of their C sequestration function. ...