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Sustainable Management of Organic Soils

English title Sustainable Management of Organic Soils
Applicant Leifeld Jens
Number 143145
Funding scheme NRP 68 Sustainable Use of Soil as a Resource
Research institution Forschungsanstalt Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon ART
Institution of higher education Research Institutes Agroscope - AGS
Main discipline Other disciplines of Environmental Sciences
Start/End 01.04.2013 - 30.11.2016
Approved amount 474'673.00
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All Disciplines (4)

Discipline
Other disciplines of Environmental Sciences
Agricultural Engineering
Pedology
Economics

Keywords (6)

optimal policy instruments; best management practices; CO2 emission; organic soil; Peatlands; Carbon input

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Böden ehemaliger Moore schwinden bei bestimmten Bewirtschaftungsweisen sehr schnell. Jens Leifeld und sein Team untersuchen, wie sich die bisherige Nutzung auf solche Moorböden ausgewirkt hat und welche Nutzungsalternativen sich bieten, um den Torfverlust zu bremsen. Sie analysieren dazu die Nutzungsgeschichte und untersuchen die Anfälligkeit ehemaliger Moorböden. Neue Politikinstrumente sollen aufzeigen, wie Nutzungsalternativen gefördert werden können.
Lay summary

Die vor allem im letzten Jahrhundert erfolgte Entwässerung und nachfolgende Nutzung von Mooren führt zu starkem Torfverlust und zu erheblichen CO2-Emissionen, weil Torf bei Sauerstoffzufuhr durch Mikroorganismen zersetzt wird (oxidativer Torfabbau). Die Art der Bewirtschaftung bestimmt dabei entscheidend das Ausmass der Torfzehrung. Steigt der Grundwasserspiegel, verringern sich Torfverlust und Treibhausgasemissionen, aber auch die Nutzungsmöglichkeiten.

Anhand von Bewirtschaftungsdaten und Messungen zur Anfälligkeit bewertet das Projekt die Auswirkungen der bisherigen Nutzung auf den Bodenzustand. Darauf aufbauend lotet es alternative Nutzungsmöglichkeiten aus und schlägt Politikinstrumente vor, die die alternativen Nutzungsformen unterstützen. Die Erkenntnisse münden in eine Wegleitung.

Nebst den Erkenntnissen zu den Auswirkungen der bisherigen Nutzung wird das Projekt aufzeigen, wie Nutzungsänderungen eingeführt werden können und mit welchen Auswirkungen Landwirtschaftsbetriebe bei der Nutzungsumstellung zu rechnen haben. Dieser Aspekt interessiert nicht nur die einzelnen Betriebe, sondern hat in immer mehr Ländern, in denen ehemalige Moore zum Teil intensiv genutzt werden, eine gesellschaftspolitische Bedeutung.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 31.05.2013

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
Certaines pratiques d’exploitation entraînent une régression rapide des sols des anciens marais. Jens Leifeld et son équipe étudient l’impact de l’utilisation actuelle des sols marécageux et les alternatives qui permettraient de ralentir la disparition de la tourbe. Ils se penchent sur l’histoire de l’utilisation de ces sols et examinent la vulnérabilité des anciens sols marécageux. De nouveaux instruments politiques montreront comment encourager le développement d’utilisations alternatives.
Lay summary

L’assèchement des marais, qui a eu surtout cours au siècle dernier, et leurs utilisations successives ont entraîné d’importantes pertes de tourbe et de très fortes émissions de dioxyde de carbone, car la tourbe se décompose sous l’action de l’oxygène apporté par les micro-organismes (décomposition par oxydation). Le type d’exploitation influe de manière déterminante sur l’ampleur de l’élimination de la tourbe. En cas d’élévation du niveau de la nappe phréatique, l’élimination de la tourbe et les émissions de gaz à effet de serre diminuent, mais aussi les possibilités d’utilisation.

En se fondant sur les données d’exploitation des sols et les mesures relatives à leur vulnérabilité, le projet évalue l’impact de leur utilisation actuelle sur leur état. Il développe sur cette base d’autres possibilités d’utilisation et propose des instruments politiques propres à encourager l’adoption de ces modes d’utilisation. Les connaissances recueillies débouchent sur une directive.

Outre les effets de l’utilisation actuelle des sols, le projet montrera comment d’autres modes d’utilisation peuvent être introduits et quelles seront les conséquences de ce changement pour les exploitations agricoles. Cet aspect intéressera les entreprises concernées, mais il est également important sur le plan socio-politique dans un nombre croissant de pays dans lesquels d’anciens marais font l’objet d’une exploitation intensive.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 31.05.2013

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Soils from former peatlands are dwindling very quickly in certain farming systems. Jens Leifeld and his team are investigating how previous use has affected these peatlands, and which alternative uses are available to slow down peat loss. They are also analysing the use history and investigating the vulnerability of former peatlands. New policy instruments should show how alternative uses can be promoted.
Lay summary

The draining and subsequent exploitation of moors, especially over the last century, has led to a great peat loss and to considerable carbon dioxide emissions, because peat is destroyed by micro-organisms when oxygen is added (peat oxidation). The kind of farming system is a crucial factor in determining the level of peat consumption. If the groundwater level rises, peat loss and greenhouse gases decrease, as do, however, land use possibilities.

Using management data and vulnerability measures, the project is evaluating the effects of previous use on the condition of the soil. Building on this, it will sound out possible alternative uses and propose policy instruments that support alternative forms of use. This information will lead to the formation of guidelines.

In addition to information on the effects of previous use, the project will show how changes of use can be introduced, and what effects farms should expect following a change of land use. This aspect is not just of interest to individual farms, but is of socio-political importance in an increasing number of countries where former peatlands have been in some cases intensively exploited.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 31.05.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Sustainable management of cultivated peatlands in Switzerland: Insights, challenges, and opportunities
Ferré Marie, Muller Adrian, Leifeld Jens, Bader Cédric, Müller Moritz, Engel Stefanie, Wichmann Sabine (2019), Sustainable management of cultivated peatlands in Switzerland: Insights, challenges, and opportunities, in Land Use Policy, 87, 104019-104019.
Which Agglomeration Payment for a Sustainable Management of Organic Soils in Switzerland? – An Experiment Accounting for Farmers' Cost Heterogeneity
Ferré Marie, Engel Stefanie, Gsottbauer Elisabeth (2018), Which Agglomeration Payment for a Sustainable Management of Organic Soils in Switzerland? – An Experiment Accounting for Farmers' Cost Heterogeneity, in Ecological Economics, 150, 24-33.
Peat decomposability in managed organic soils in relation to land use, organic matter composition and temperature
Bader Cédric, Müller Moritz, Schulin Rainer, Leifeld Jens (2018), Peat decomposability in managed organic soils in relation to land use, organic matter composition and temperature, in Biogeosciences, 15(3), 703-719.
Response of peat decomposition to corn straw addition in managed organic soils
Bader Cédric, Müller Moritz, Szidat Sönke, Schulin Rainer, Leifeld Jens (2018), Response of peat decomposition to corn straw addition in managed organic soils, in Geoderma, 309, 75-83.
Amount and stability of recent and aged plant residues in degrading peatland soils.
Bader C., Müller M., Schulin R., Leifeld J. (2017), Amount and stability of recent and aged plant residues in degrading peatland soils., in Soil Biology & Biochemistry, 167-175.
Loss of the soil carbon storage function of drained forested peatlands
Wüst-Galley C., Leifeld J. (2016), Loss of the soil carbon storage function of drained forested peatlands, in Mires and Peat, 18, article 7.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Swiss Federal Agency for Environment Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Bodenschutzfachstelle Bern Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Jahrestagung der Schweizer Bodenkundlichen Gesellschaft Poster Sustainable management of organic soils in Switzerland - an experimental game to test different policy instrument - preliminary results 04.05.2016 Genf, Switzerland Engel Stefanie; Marie Ferré;
EGU General Assembly 2016 Talk given at a conference Influence of fresh organic matter addition on peat carbon stocks. 18.04.2016 Vienna, Austria Leifeld Jens; Müller Moritz; Bader Cédric;
EGU General Assembly 2016 Talk given at a conference Sources of variability in peat composition and the role of peat age 18.04.2016 Vienna, Austria Leifeld Jens;
EGU General Assembly 2016 Talk given at a conference Does Miscanthus cultivation on organic soils compensate for carbon loss from peat oxi-dation? A dual label study 18.04.2016 Vienna, Austria Bader Cédric; Leifeld Jens; Müller Moritz;
Jahrestagung der Schweizer Bodenkundlichen Gesellschaft Talk given at a conference The underappreciated role of organic soils in the terrestrial C and N cycle 04.02.2016 Montreux, Switzerland Leifeld Jens;
1st Workshop on Experimental Economics for the Environment Talk given at a conference Which policy instrument for a more sustainable management of organic soils in Switzerland? – A computerized experiment - Preliminary results 28.01.2016 Osnabrück, Germany Engel Stefanie; Marie Ferré;
Kolloquium Agroeconet Talk given at a conference Sustainable management of organic soils in Switzerland - an experimental game to test different policy instrument 14.01.2016 Zurich, Switzerland Marie Ferré; Engel Stefanie;
Swiss Geoscience Meeting 2015 Talk given at a conference Assessing the carbon sequestration potential of Miscanthus cropping on managed organic soils 20.11.2015 Basel, Switzerland Leifeld Jens; Müller Moritz; Bader Cédric;
Workshop Agricultural Indicators, University of Bremen Talk given at a conference Which policy instrument for a more sustainable management of organic soils in Switzerland? – A computerized experiment 07.09.2015 Bremen, Germany Marie Ferré;
International Conference of Agricultural Economists Talk given at a conference Payments for Environmental Services to Promote Climate Change Mitigation & Adaptation in Agriculture: Policy potential and design lessons 13.08.2015 Milan, Italy Engel Stefanie;
Workshop on Comparative Framed Field Experiments on the Environment (COFFEE) Talk given at a conference Field experiments for natural resource policy analysis & design 18.05.2015 Barcelona, Spain Engel Stefanie;
European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2015 Poster CO2 emissions from organic soils under agricultural use 13.04.2015 Wien, Austria Leifeld Jens; Bader Cédric; Müller Moritz;
Jahrestagung der Schweizer Bodenkundlichen Gesellschaft Poster Priming effects in drained organic soils - a dual isotope approach 04.02.2015 Basel, Switzerland Bader Cédric; Leifeld Jens; Müller Moritz;
Swiss Geoscience Meeting 2014 Talk given at a conference CO2 emissions from organic soils under agricultural use 22.11.2014 Fribourg, Switzerland Müller Moritz; Bader Cédric; Leifeld Jens;
Swiss Geoscience Meeting 2014 Talk given at a conference Sustainable management of organic soils in Switzerland – economic and policy analysis 22.11.2014 Fribourg, Switzerland Engel Stefanie; Marie Ferré;
ASPSA Symposium Agroscope Poster Influence of organic matter addition and land-use history on peat respiration 06.11.2014 Zurich, Switzerland Leifeld Jens; Bader Cédric; Müller Moritz;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Swiss Geoscience Meeting Convener Session NRP68 22.11.2014 Fribourg, Switzerland

Knowledge transfer events



Self-organised

Title Date Place
Round Table on Organic Soils in Switzerland 05.03.2014 Ittigen, Switzerland

Abstract

Drainage of peatlands for agricultural purposes leads to a rapid loss of carbon as CO2 due to peat oxidation. In Switzerland these emissions are in the range of 14 % of direct agricultural emissions. In addition to its GHG emission potential, peat oxidation goes along with soil degradation and the loss of important soil and ecosystem functions. Alternative management options that are able to reduce soil-borne emissions must be based on sound knowledge of the site-specific vulnerability to further organic matter loss and the role of previous and current land-use and management. These management options must be supported by policy instruments that are specifically designed for their implementation at the regional scale. The project aims to identify approaches towards a more sustainable use of drained peatlands by combining bio-physical evidence, management information and adopted policy instruments for implementation. The scientific project goals are to (i) evaluate site-specific proxies for the potential CO2 loss from managed peatlands based on organic matter quality, (ii) identify site-specific appropriate management practices, directed towards a more sustainable soil use, based on current practices and management records and (iii) develop optimal policy instruments, that set incentives to implement these site-specific, customized management practices at a broader scale, while still allowing for certain trade-offs between conflicting goals. The project is embedded in a framework of ongoing activities of the three research groups involved, will consult key stakeholders from various administrative bodies and will be supervised by experienced investigators.
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