The browser you are using is not supported by this website. All versions of Internet Explorer are no longer supported, either by us or Microsoft (read more here:

Please use a modern browser to fully experience our website, such as the newest versions of Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari etc.

Default user image.

Lena Ström


Default user image.

Cutover Peat Limits Methane Production Causing Low Emission at a Restored Peatland


  • Kelly A. Nugent
  • Ian B. Strachan
  • Maria Strack
  • Nigel T. Roulet
  • Lena Ström
  • Jeffrey P. Chanton

Summary, in English

Peatland degradation due to human activities is contributing to rising atmospheric CO2 levels. Restoring the carbon (C) sink function in degraded peatlands and preventing further stored C losses is a key climate mitigation strategy, given the global scale of peatland disturbance. Active restoration involving a combination of rewetting and vegetation reestablishment at a post-extraction peatland in Canada has been shown to successfully re-establish net CO2 uptake rates similar to undisturbed peatlands within a decade or two. However, lower than expected CH4 emissions suggest recovery of belowground C cycling processes may lag behind the recovery of the surface net flux. Using closed chamber measurements over a warm season, we determined that restored Sphagnum, which covers two thirds of the site, was a null source of CH4. Emissions from the restored site were primarily attributed to vascular plant substrate inputs, measured as acetate, and plant-mediated transport. The C isotopic fractionation factor for CH4 and CO2 in the pore water from the restored former peat field suggested reduced hydrogenotrophic CH4 production deeper in the cutover peat profile (0.8 m depth). In contrast, isotopic fractionation in the former drainage ditches showed a balance of acetoclastic and hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis deeper in the profile, indicative of some bulk peat C turnover. This study suggests that the legacy of substrate quality in the cutover peat can reduce the climate warming impact of newly restored peatlands through a reduction in CH4 production and thus emission.


  • Dept of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science
  • BECC: Biodiversity and Ecosystem services in a Changing Climate

Publishing year





Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences





Document type

Journal article




  • Physical Geography




  • ISSN: 2169-8953