Peatland soils drained for agriculture act as a major source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the Netherlands. Intensive farming on fen meadows along with drainage sustains dairy production while altering peat soils. Current emissions from Dutch agricultural peatlands total 7 Mt CO2eq. yr-1, yet estimates of GHG exchange at landscape scale are limited and upscaling site-scale measurements remains uncertain. Area-specific responses of GHG fluxes to drivers including water table depth (WTD) necessitate observations that capture this variability. This research project aims at investigating the greenhouse gas exchange of agricultural peatlands at landscape scale and its control by WTD dynamics and environmental factors. By using a combination of airborne and tower-based eddy covariance (EC) measurements over drained fen meadows in the Netherlands, carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) fluxes will be quantified and factors driving their spatiotemporal variability will be discerned. Ancillary measurements of soil, meteorological and remote sensing-derived parameters support the study. The linkage between CO2 and CH4 fluxes, WTD and soil moisture regimes, considering the impact of hydroclimatic extreme events, is a specific focus of this research project. The potential to use Sentinel-1 radar data for water table mapping will further be explored. The expected results will help to constrain GHG flux estimates for climate-relevant peat soils under agricultural use in Netherlands. The spatially explicit estimates to be obtained will support peatland monitoring and the identification of areas with high GHG emissions where mitigation measures should be directed.
We provide a disciplinary and multidisciplinary research programme aimed at advanced understanding of environmental problems and advanced training of PhD candidates in this field.