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Nitrogen and phosphorus retention in Danish restored wetlands

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Wetland restoration is considered an effective mitigation method for decreasing nitrogen (N) losses from agricultural land. However, when former cropland becomes rewetted, there is a risk that phosphorus (P) accumulated in soils will be released downstream. Here, we evaluate N and P retention in eight restored wetlands in Denmark monitored for 1 year using a mass balance approach. The wetlands represented different types, for instance, lakes and wet meadows, and ages (3–13 years). We also show the results from a long-term monitoring station established in 1973, located downstream a lake that was re-established in 2006. All restored wetlands removed total N (42–305 kg N ha −1  year −1 ), while some wetlands acted as source of total P and others as a sink (− 2.8 to 10 kg P ha −1  year −1 ). Our study confirms that restored wetlands are effective at removing N, whereas P can be released for several years after restoration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)324-336
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020

    Research areas

  • Eutrophication, Hydraulic residence time, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Wetland restoration

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