In this item examples of methods that peat soil landowners – for their part – may apply to mitigate climate change. On the left hand link list you may find examples of the usefulness of different mitigation methods from an array of farms.
A continuous plant cover (grass, under vegetation, winter crops) retain nutrients and carbon in the substrate and promotes water resource conservation.
Reduction of tilling
Tilling of a peat soil field may be reduced by replacing ploughing with lighter soil preparation methods, for instance cultivation or direct sowing.
Raising the ground water table
In practice the experiences indicate that raising the water table is easy, but lowering it is occasionally difficult. An agricultural field with organic soil produced good harvests with water table levels of 30-40 cm.
Wetland cultivation: gardening or planting of plants that thrive in moist conditions. Species that survive in Finland are downy birch, willows, reed canary grass, common reed, bulrush, sundew, meadowsweet, bogbean, marsh tea, bog myrtle, berries etc.
The market for these plants is weak and, as the emission mitigation is the main product, the farmer will need financial support for cultivating these. A separate “brand” would be needed. A business opportunity for skilled and imaginative entrepeneurs!
Changes in land use
A change of the land use may be an option worth considering on sites that have low agricultural profitability, for instance due to distance, poor drainage and low productivity. A peat field may be forested, converted to wetland or used as an energy wood plantation.
Compared to arable use afforestation slows decomposition of the peat. On the other hand, peat fields are laborious to afforest, but a dense tree stand and a high ground water level may facilitate the competition with lush undergrowth. From a carbon balance point of view the most lucrative afforestation method may be short rotation birch forest with a high water table.
Regulation of water table
In drained peatland forests the GHG emissions may be mitigated by regulation of the water table utilizing the tree stand biomass, by using continuous cover forestry and simultaneously avoiding ditch cleanings and clear-cuttings. However, the water level should not be so high as to impede the tree stand growth. Optimizing the water level is highly important.