Acronym (Reference Number): REPEAT (173)

Duration: 31/12/2016 – 30/12/2019

Project Topic: Understanding and managing the biodiversity dynamics of soils and sediments to improve ecosystem functioning and delivery of ecosystem services

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REstoration and prognosis of PEAT formation in fens – linking diversity in plant functional traits to soil biological and biogeochemical processes

This work was supported by a grant of the Romanian National Authority for Scientific Research and Innovation, CCCDI – UEFISCDI, project number BiodivERsA3-2015-173-REPEAT, within PNCDI III

REPEAT aims to clarify the mechanisms of peat formation in fens by linking biogeochemical processes to soil community structure and biodiversity, as well as to plant belowground litter quality, with special focus on the prospects of restoring peat formation. Paludiculture (sustainable biomass harvest in wet and rewetted fens) and restoration prospects of fens providing vital ecosystem services for mitigation of climate change, regional hydrology, nutrient retention and biodiversity conservation will receive special attention. The main research question is: How do environmental factors and human management interact with soil biodiversity in determining rates of peat accumulation in undrained and rewetted fens? Eight hypotheses will be tested.

This project is the first to systematically address sedge and grass (‘displacement’) peat formation, the predominant peat formation mechanism of the temperate zone, using an interdisciplinary, multi-method and multi-site approach. It focuses on both the least disturbed and the most disturbed fens and investigates the restorability of the latter ones, while covering all major fen regions in the European Union.

REPEAT addresses theme 1 with all three sub-themes 1-3.

REPEAT builds on the Biodiversa PEATBOG project, will deliver guidance for ERANET projects FACCE CAOS and CINDERELLA, and it underpins various LIFE+ projects.

The study spans four countries covering both the least and the most disturbed sites of all major fen regions in the EU. In order to compare undrained, drained and rewetted fens, we will analyse ecosystem processes at four study areas, supplemented by an ex-situ mesocosm and laboratory experiments.