alfa wetlands test site

A field excursion to two different bogs – a glimpse of ALFAwetlands research in Finland

ALFAwetlands organised a field excursion to the project’s Living Lab site in early September as part of the IBRFA 2023 conference. The excursion was to Southern Finland, home to Finland’s oldest and deepest bogs.

The programme included a visit to two bogs, Lettosuo and Tervalamminsuo, which are within walking distance of each other. Over forty participants from Finland, the Nordic countries and the Baltic States took part in the excursion. They were guided by Jyrki Jauhiainen from the Natural Resources Institute Finland, Mika Korkiakoski from the Finnish Meteorological Institute and Kari Minkkinen from the University of Helsinki.

Lettosuo is a fertile peatland forest in the municipality of Tammela. It was drained by manually dug ditches probably already in the 1930s and later by more efficient means. The area was also fertilised with phosphorus and potassium in the early 1970s. Participants learned about the site’s drainage history and regeneration activities, as well as different experiments and forest management practices.

The annual impact of weather on greenhouse gas emissions has been studied in Lettosuo since 2009. In 2016, two felling treatments were carried out: clear-cutting and overstorey harvesting. In 2017, spruce seedlings were planted in the clear-cut area. The impact of these forest management practices on greenhouse gas fluxes and carbon stocks has been measured in the area. Continuous cover forestry is now being explored as a more sustainable alternative to more traditional drainage and logging practices. In addition, the tour included a discussion on the effects of clear-cutting and partial felling on carbon balances and tree stand development.

Tervalamminsuo is a barren bog surrounded by spruce dominated mire margins. Central part of the bog is classified as a rainwater-dependent swamp and peat layer is thick. This means that vegetation must survive in low-nutrient conditions and therefore trees do not grow well there. The oldest dwarf pine trees can be several hundred years old. Some of the spruce dominant areas of Tervalamminsuo were drained for forestry in the 1960s and 1970s. Part of the area was restored in the early 2000s. Carbon dioxide measurements were started in Tervalamminsuo in 2012. At the site, participants were introduced to the typical vegetation of a boreal barren bog and its greenhouse gas exchange, as well as to wetland restoration.

Sustainable restoration of wetlands – ALFAwetlands

ALFAwetlands is an EU-funded Horizon Europe project. The overall objective of the ALFAwetlands project is to identify wetland areas at European level and the measures that can be taken to restore wetlands in the most effective way, so that the restoration measures chosen are as effective as possible in mitigating climate change without reducing biodiversity and ecosystem services and are socially just and rewarding.

Living Labs support interdisciplinary research on ecological, environmental, economic, and social issues at the local level. Models will be used to explore the potential impacts of upscaled wetland restoration options on biodiversity and ecosystem services provision, as well as changes in their provision at the EU level for various policy relevant periods for both climate change mitigation and biodiversity targets. ALFAwetlands will assess the socio-economic impacts of wetland restoration, especially on biodiversity and ecosystem services benefits and costs of different measures and well-being impacts from local to the EU levels.

Expected impacts of ALFAwetlands:

  • enable more accurate GHGE reporting in the LULUCF sector.
  • enable authorities, managers and policymakers to design more accurate and effective wetland strategies for climate change mitigation and biodiversity.
  • increase the use of wetland restoration as a GHGE mitigation tool.
  • identify the most successful restoration measures in European wetlands.
  • analyse EU-wide AFOLU mitigation options including wetland restoration under different climate change scenarios.
  • contribute to EU policy implementation supporting climate change adaptation and mitigation, as well as biodiversity.
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