Field measurements

The following environmental and ecological parameters will be monitored:

(see the below schematic on the holistic monitoring approach)

(click to expand)

1. Climate (AWS)

2. Peat properties (depth & micro-topography)

3. C stocks (peat & vegetation carbon)

4. Peat pipes (GPR surveys)

5. Vegetation assessment (composition and change)

6. Water balance (in versus out)

7. Water quality (DOC & POC)

8. C fluxes (photosynthesis & respiration)

9. GHG emissions (CH4 and N2O)

10. Crane fly (emergence & abundance & birds)

11. Modelling (water table depth & carbon & management)

The above graphic illustrates the schematic linkages between the different measurements and activities as part of this project (as conceived at the proposal & workshop stage).

We welcome any further linkages as part of this work, so please do get in touch if you have suggestions/ideas.

The following measurements will be performed across the monitoring areas:

(see the below schematic on the holistic monitoring approach)

(click to expand)

  • At the start and end of the project, peat depth (mainly manual peat rod method) and the location and extent of any peat pipes found will be assessed using ground penetrating radar (also repeated at the end).

  • Peat condition (bulk density) and micro-topography of the peat surface will be assessed before and after management.

  • Vegetation composition and cover - to include both vascular plants and bryophytes - using digital pictures and visual assessment on site (during summer). This will include top view (100%) and total cover (>100%; e.g. including moss layers under other vegetation) assessments.

  • Heather growth/vigour will be specifically recorded (e.g. height or shoot growth increment length; during summer/autumn).

  • Hourly weather data: light, rainfall, humidity, pressure, air and soil temperature measured by a weather station (AWS) and used to inform models of photosynthesis and greenhouse gas fluxes.

  • Flow rates will be monitored at the stream outflow point for each sub-catchment and total flow volumes and flow budgets will be calculated in relation to incoming precipitation.

  • Daily water tables measured at permanent quadrats using automated loggers.

  • Manual peat pore water samples will be taken seasonally to assess water quality and DOC concentrations in relation to climate, management and vegetation parameters.

  • Manual monthly stream flow samples will be collected to analyse fluvial C export (DOC & POC) and to capture export of other elements (nutrients and trace elements).

  • Manual light and dark chamber measurements of carbon dioxide flux (photosynthesis and respiration) and manual methane flux measurements representing a range of water tables and vegetation covers (seasonally, throughout the year). Methane fluxes will also be related to plant functional type cover (i.e. sedges) in relation plant-mediated transport of methane.