Nitrogen and phosphorus transport from drained wetlands before and after restoration

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Riparian wetlands under undisturbed conditions fulfil important sink functions for phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N). However, over the years, the important function of these ecotones as nutrient sinks has been significantly altered due to human intervention in many parts of the world. Today, in the face of rising global challenges like eutrophication of water bodies associated with the decline of biodiversity, increasing greenhouse gas fluxes and other societal challenges, rewetting of wetlands is proposed as a valid cost-efficient nature-based mitigation solution. The challenge is, however, that the long-term drainage and intensive agricultural use of wetlands have created significant changes in both physical and chemical soil characteristics such as significantly increased dry bulk densities and mobile P content in connection with soil carbon mineralization and land use. During the last decades, we have gained a comprehensive understanding of the processes and driving factors controlling the cycling of nutrients in wetlands. Both the hydrology and the quality of the discharging water are important determinants of the physico-chemical conditions of an individual wetland, and they control a broad range of biogeochemical processes driving the nutrient removal and thus the nutrient export to downstream systems.
In Denmark, more than 200 wetlands have been restored during the last 25 years. However, only a fraction of the restored areas are monitored for water and nutrient fluxes and none of the areas have been monitored pre-restoration. During the last couple of years, we have started monitoring several drained wetland areas. Some of these areas have recently been rewetted under continued monitoring. We will present these first results of nutrient fluxes from drained wetlands pre and post restoration and discuss the implications for future rewetting strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date20 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sept 2023
EventPower to the peatlands - University of Anvers, Anvers, Belgium
Duration: 19 Sept 202321 Sept 2023


ConferencePower to the peatlands
LocationUniversity of Anvers

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