A model of gross primary productivity based on satellite data suggests formerly afforested peatlands undergoing restoration regain full photosynthesis capacity after five to ten years

K. J. Lees, T. Quaife, R. R.E. Artz, M. Khomik, M. Sottocornola, G. Kiely, G. Hambley, T. Hill, M. Saunders, N. R. Cowie, J. Ritson, J. M. Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Peatlands are an important terrestrial carbon store, but disturbance has resulted in the degradation of many peatland ecosystems and caused them to act as a net carbon source. Restoration work is being undertaken but monitoring the success of these schemes can be difficult and costly using traditional field-based methods. A landscape-scale alternative is to use satellite data to assess the condition of peatlands and to estimate gaseous carbon fluxes. In this study we used Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) products to model Gross Primary Productivity (GPP) over peatland sites at various stages of restoration. We found that the MOD17A2H GPP product overestimates GPP modelled from data collected by eddy covariance towers situated at two ex-forestry sites undergoing restoration towards blanket bog at the Forsinard Flows RSPB reserve, Scotland, UK (one full year of data), and a near-natural Atlantic blanket bog site in Glencar, Ireland (ten-year data series). We calibrated a Temperature and Greenness (TG) model for the Forsinard sites and found it to be more accurate than the MODIS GPP product at local scale. We also found that inclusion of a wetness factor using the Normalised Difference Water Index (NDWI) improved inter-annual accuracy of the model. This TGWa (annual Temperature, Greenness and Wetness) model was then applied to six control sites comprising near-natural bog across the reserve, and to six sites on which restoration began between 1998 and 2006. GPP from 2005 to 2016 was estimated for each site using the model. The resulting modelled trends are positive at all six restored sites, increasing by approximately 5.5 g C/m2/yr every year since restoration began in the Forsinard Flows reserve. The results suggest that peatland sites undergoing restoration at Forsinard Flows reach the carbon assimilation potential of near-natural bog sites between 5 and 10 years after restoration was begun.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)594-604
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Volume246
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2019

Keywords

  • Carbon
  • Eddy covariance
  • MODIS
  • Peatland
  • Remote sensing
  • Restoration

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