📍Valley of the Zuidleie, Belgium
Comparing unproductive drained peatland mowing
Challenges: Land abandonment, drainage, and sludge suppletion has degraded original fen meadows and transition mires, which are fed by mineral-rich ground water. Neighbouring infiltration areas undergo intensive agricultural use and suffer from drainage, local ground water extractions, and increased soil sealing. Climate change (CC) increases extreme drought and high water table level (WL) events. Previously, areas have been flooded by very nutrient-rich water. Since 1981, the NGO Natuurpunt has tried to progressively restore the valley via different measures.
Solutions: Restoration results will be compared between mowing management (reinstated after >30 years of abandonment and periodic flooding with nutrient-rich water) and polluted sludge deposit removal and mowing management (reinstalled in 1992). In addition to existing long-term monitoring, soil nutrient conditions, peat formation trends, and below-ground biomass effects will be studied. Soil and vegetation monitoring will be initiated in places where new restoration actions take place during the project.
Outcomes: Insights from monitoring into what extent restoration results are sustainable and/or hydrological conditions and mowing management can be optimised for the best long-term CC impacts for fen meadow and transition mire vegetations. GHGE will be measured for the first time.
Type of wetland:
Drained peatland – non-productive