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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

EUROPEAT is the acronym of a European project in the Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources programme. The full title of the project is '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 peatlands are
reclaimed. However, as soon as agricultural peatlands are drained, decomposition of organic matter starts.

The main objective of the project is to elucidate the processes determining the rate of subsidence, oxidation and release of nutrients and greenhouse gases from peat soils, to develop tools to improve the prediction of the effect of land use and water managementand global climatic chnage on these processes, and to assess the socio-economic impact that environmentally driven chnages in peat soil management will have. Specific objectives are:
1) Collection of available data from field and laboratory experiments on different peat soils under different land use, climatic and water management in Europe.
2) Further development of the model combination SWAP/ANIMO to simulate effects of decomposition of peat in relation to drainage conditions in Europe and possible climate changes.
3) Development of a decision support system for a hydro-fucntional peatland management.
4) Qualification andquantification of the impact of land use and water management and global climatic chnage on the subsidence, nutrient release and emission of greenhaouse gases.
5) Determination of effective land use and water management options to preserve peat soil systems taking into account the socio-economic aspects.

Progress to Date
Collection of available data on long-term experiments, selection of experiments for further investigation.
Construction of a database with input for models and decision systems. Determination of pedotransfer functions.
Experiments for studying processes and model parameterisation, calibration and validation.
Experiments for studying the effect of existing and proposed management practices on trafficability, workable days, peat properties, degradation, environmental impacts and regeneration of peat soils.
Further development of an existing process-oriented model (SWAP/ANIMO) for prediction of subsidence, nutrient releases and emission of greenhouse gases.
Development of a semi-quantitative decision support system for peatland management.
Scenario studies to determine the effects of land use and water management and global climatic change on the deterioration and restoration of peat soils and impact on greenhouse gas emissions and nutrient leaching.
Determination of effective land use and water manaagement to preserve and rehabilitate peat soils and minimise greenhouse gas emissions and nutrients leaching, taking into account socio-economic aspects

Classified in SOIL

Scientist responsible for the project

Dr J.J.H. van den AKKER
Droevendaalsesteeg 3 Box 47
6700 AA Wageningen
Netherlands (The) - NL

Phone: +31 317474210
Fax: +31 317419000


Project ID QLRT-2001-01835
Area 5.1.1
Start date 01 September 2002
Duration (months) 42
Total cost 1 886 949 €
Total EC contribution   1 380 649 €
Status Ongoing
Web address of the project

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