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.
THREE YEARS OF NOBV: INSIGHT INTO THE EFFECTS OF MEASURES AGAINST GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS FROM PEAT MEADOWS
Raising the ditch level and infiltration of grassland plots with water appear to be suitable instruments for limiting greenhouse gas emissions from degrading peat. This is one of the preliminary research results of NOBV, carried out by a consortium of universities and knowledge institutes under the direction of STOWA. There are still too few data available for other measures to be able to make statements about their effectiveness. NOBV, financed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, is investigating the effects of water infiltration systems, wet crops and soil amendment at various locations. The NOBV also provides a methodology for monitoring.
There is no such thing as a simple or all-encompassing solution. The results of the NOBV so far show that raising the ditch level and passive and active water infiltration systems are generally effective as a measure to combat greenhouse gas emissions from peat soils. At the same time, NOBV’s research shows that many factors play a role in emissions, such as soil temperature, soil moisture, pH, the type of crop and the composition of the peat. Research also shows that methane emissions can occur in the event of extensive wetting of grasslands with groundwater levels above 20 cm below ground level, during wet crops and nature development. However, it is currently too early to make well-founded statements about this. The NOBV, which started at the end of 2019, will continue until at least 2024.
The report on the third measurement year is divided into papers on various subjects. A number of papers have already been published. A number of papers have not yet been published pending scientific review. These will be published once the review has taken place.
Available partial reports, the summary based on all papers and the status memorandum can be found here:
- Summary Report Three Years NOBV (in Dutch)
- Status Note Three Years NOBV (in Dutch)
- Effects of subsurface water infiltration systems on phreatic groundwater levels in peat meadows
- Climate effect of combined CH4, N2O and CO2 emission change by land use or ecosystem transition
- Temporal variation in nitrous oxide emission from grassland on drained peat soil
- Airborne measurements of regional carbon dioxide exchange of Dutch fen meadows
- Process-based modelling of CO2 fluxes in Vlist
- Carbon stocks in sight: High-resolution vertical depth profiles to quantify carbon reservoirs in the NOBV research sites
Webinar Three Years NOBV
Watch the webinar about the first NOBV result here.
REPORT ON SOMERS 1.0
To determine whether the reduction target of 1 Mton from peat meadows as laid down in the Climate Agreement will actually be achieved in the long term, the national CO2 emission reduction in the peat meadow area must be recorded annually. The registration system SOMERS (Subsurface Organic Matter Emission Registration System) has been developed for this purpose. Calculation rules have been determined with SOMERS that can serve as indicative support in determining the effects of proposed measures on greenhouse gas emissions in the peat meadow area.
The report on SOMERS 1.0 that was delivered in December 2022 serves as a background document for the calculation rules. The monitoring philosophy and line of reasoning that led to the creation of SOMERS are also described. Finally, the report contains two technical appendices in which SOMERS’ underlying calculation models are explained.
The calculation rules can be found here.
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.