Net Ecosystem CO2 Exchange From a Peatland Under Restoration

Ultan McCarthy, Imelda Casey, Owen Naughton, Shane Regan, Mark O Connor

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Peatlands are the earth’s largest natural terrestrial carbon store and represent over 50% of all the soil carbon stock in the Republic of Ireland. However, peatlands are a significant source of carbon emissions in Ireland due to a long history of unsustainable management through drainage, commercial and domestic peat extraction, and conversion to forestry and agriculture. Current projections show that Ireland will struggle to meet its climate change commitment of a 30% reduction in GHG emissions as set out in the national Climate Action Plan and Paris Agreement. For this commitment to be met, restoration of drained peatlands is now considered to be an essential and effective natural solution. In 2019, the National Park and Wildlife Services (NPWS) embarked on a project to restore a designated Special Area of Conservation at the All Saints raised bog located in County Offaly. An Eddy Covariance tower was installed to monitor the net ecosystem CO2 exchange accurately. This ongoing study is designed to track variations in carbon emissions from the site, capturing data both before and after the restoration efforts over a period of two years. Early indications suggest that the restoration has yielded promising outcomes, including the presence of a significant water reserve, which is critical for the bog’s ecosystem. However, initial results also indicate substantial carbon emissions are still occurring. To delve deeper into these findings, the study will integrate chamber measurements across various gradients. The aim is to elucidate both the temporal and seasonal emission patterns, as well as identify the key biotic and abiotic factors driving these emissions. This comprehensive approach will provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of the restoration processes and contribute to a broader understanding of carbon dynamics in peatland ecosystems.
Original languageEnglish (Ireland)
Title of host publicationEnviron 2024
Number of pages102
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2024


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