The NOBV conducts research at various locations,
where a range of measures and situations are examined.
Greenhouse gas fluxes are measured at all locations.
Soil chemistry and soil physics are researched too,
and soil subsidence is measured as well.
The reduction in national CO2 emissions in peatland areas must be monitored annually, in order to determine whether the Climate Agreement reduction target of 1 Mton from peatlands will actually be achieved in the long term. SOMERS (Subsurface Organic Matter Emission Registration System) has been developed for this purpose. With SOMERS, calculation rules have been determined that can act as an indicative support in determining the effects that proposed measures have on greenhouse gas emissions in peatland areas. They are estimates for ‘characteristic’ situations in three different regions of the Netherlands. The main objective of the models used to draw up these calculation rules is to monitor the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and therefore look at the peatland areas with controlled water levels throughout the whole of the Netherlands.
The calculation rules for the ‘characteristic’ situations in three different regions of the Netherlands and an explanation of the use of the calculation rules can be found here.
INITIAL NOBV FINDINGS
The Climate Agreement set down that emissions from peatlands must be reduced by 1.0 Mton CO2 per year by 2030. The Dutch National Research Programme on Greenhouse Gases in Peatlands (NOBV) was launched in December 2019 to obtain more insight into current emissions as well as the effects that measures have on greenhouse gas emissions. The NOBV takes measurements of the impact of various measures – water infiltration systems, wet crops and soil modification – at different locations throughout the Dutch peatland areas.
The NOBV’s research results will be delivered in 2024. The first two measurement years were completed in autumn 2021 and the first findings were set out in a data analysis report. An important observation after these first two years of measurement is that the functioning and effectiveness of measures is complex. The effects that measures have are dependent on specific conditions, meaning that results may vary from one region to another and from one year to the next. This in turn means that the current findings are preliminary; more years of measurement are required in order to draw conclusions. The initial findings can be divided into five main points:
- The effectiveness of measures depends on circumstances such as the weather, soil structure, permeability, seepage and runoff, and the way that the measure is implemented. The role and interaction of these conditions must be understood in order to better predict emissions and how effective measures will be.
- Raising the ditchwater level has the effect of reducing CO2 emissions. We also see that with a ditchwater level of between roughly 20 cm and 50/60cm below ground level, underwater drainage results in further reduction.
- With wet crops and with high groundwater levels around ground level (this also applies to natural environments), methane emission can play a major role. Greater insight into the processes behind this emission should make the causes of the methane emission clear as well as the possibilities for reducing the emissions from this crop.
- Measurements and model results are still subject to uncertainties. Long-term measurements and further analysis of soil mechanisms in the soil are therefore required.
- The framework is in place for monitoring the progress of CO2-reducing measures in peatland. In the coming years, the uncertainties in the outcomes will be reduced further as more data is obtained.
Measurements at the existing sites will continue in the coming years and more measuring sites will be added. For example, measurement sites will be added at locations where the new measure, clay in peat, is implemented. Exploratory measurements will also be set up on various wet crops, such as peat moss, cranberry and miscanthus. This will increase understanding of the effects of these measures. Gathering more data will reduce the uncertainties more and more.
The NOBV conducts research into greenhouse gas emissions from peat, and into the effectiveness of measures to reduce these emissions. The social and technical feasibility of measures is important as well. For this reason, in 2020 a number of studies were initiated that looked at various aspects of feasibility. Which themes were researched?
- Water quantity and water management (on the effect on water distribution and water availability)
- Biodiversity, soil and water quality (on the impact of biodiversity and water and soil quality)
- Operational management (on the impact on operational management and the transition to a different form of operational management)
- Affordability (on the costs and benefits of measures, at both the company and societal levels)
- Knowledge-sharing (on the knowledge needs of and knowledge-sharing between stakeholders)
- Governance (on the division of roles between stakeholders and the availability of legal instruments). The options with regard to using water level management to prevent subsidence were also considered here.
In these six knowledge exchange studies, an inventory was drawn up of the factors influencing the feasibility of measures, and whether there is sufficient knowledge available about them. There was also an examination of what is required in order to make measures feasible.
Would you like to know more about the feasibility studies, or view the webinars about these studies? Click here.