Peat moorland re-wilding: enhancing carbon sequestration and slowing-the-flows?

Lead Research Organisation: University of Liverpool
Department Name: Geography and Planning

Abstract

Peat moorlands store approximately a third of the global carbon stock, and can act as both sinks and sources of several greenhouse gases. These moorlands also form a significant component of the upland hydrological cycle, with the capacity to alleviate flooding during high intensity rainfall events. In many parts of the UK, peatlands are facing decline owing to widespread peat extraction, agriculture, commercial forestry and erosion, as well as changing temperature and rainfall regimes associated with climate change.
My research will focus on the extensive ombrotrophic (rain-fed) blanket mire at May Moss on the North York Moors. May Moss is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), protected for unique characteristics of wet blanket bog with the North York Moors National Park. It has undergone significant expansion with the removal of commercial forestry since 2008, more than doubling the area of blanket bog and wet heathland. Micrometeorological and hydrological monitoring of the site has compiled nearly a decade of micrometeorological and hydrological data documenting changes in the energy balance, evapotranspiration and water table variability. Fylingdales Moor, within which the site sits, is part of the Pickering slow-the-flow initiatives mitigating flooding. My research will make use of this growing database to test hypotheses about the role of these land management practices in mitigating peak river flow and enhancing carbon storage within peatlands. The project will ultimately assess the success of these restorative measures on the recovery of the hydrological and biogeochemical functions of peatlands.

Publications

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