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Tools and scenarios for sustainable management of european peat soils to protect associated landscapes and natural areas in relation to agricultural production


Peat ecosystems are fragile with important biological and hydrological functions. Substantial areas of peat lands are reclaimed. However, as soon as agricultural peat lands are drained, decomposition of organic matter starts resulting in irreversible subsidence of up to 3 cm per year destroying associated landscapes and wetland habitats. The decomposition causes GHG emissions and leaching of released nutrients. The decomposition of peat will increase with at least 30 % in 50 years if temperature rises by climate change. Water and land use management have a decisive impact on the decomposition rates. In the project models and a decision support system are developed to predict impacts of climate change and water and land use management on decomposition, subsidence, GHG emissions and nutrient leaching. Scenarios are run to determine best management strategies to minimise decomposition and subsidence rates of agricultural peat soils and to conserve nature reserves / wetlands. In planned scenario studies peat land regions are considered as an integrated system combining classical and organic agriculture, landscape and nature. The socio-economic implications of the required management strategies are investigated.

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Droevendaalsesteeg 3a
6700 AA Wageningen

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Participants (3)