, Volume 71, Issue 1, pp 69–87 | Cite as

Development of floating rafts after the rewetting of cut-over bogs: the importance of peat quality

  • Hilde B.M. Tomassen
  • Alfons J.P. Smolders
  • Leon P.M. Lamers
  • Jan G.M. Roelofs


The usual method of restoring cut-over bogs is to rewet the peat surface, but this often leads to the remaining peat layers being deeply inundated. For Sphagnum-dominated vegetation to develop at deeply inundated locations, it is important for floating rafts of buoyant residual peat to develop. In this study, the chemical and physical characteristics of buoyant and inundated peat collected from rewetted cut-over bog were compared. In general, buoyant peat was poorly humified; high methane (CH4) production rates (≥2 µmol g −1 DW day −1) were important to ensure buoyancy. Although the peat water CH4 concentrations increased with depth, the CH4 production rates were higher in the uppermost peat layers. High CH4 production rates were related positively with P concentrations and negatively with lignin concentrations. The pH to bulk density ratio (≥0.05) also appeared to be a good indicator of CH4 production rates, providing an easy and cheap way to measure the variable for restoration practitioners. Our results indicated that analysing certain simple characteristics of the residual peat can greatly improve the success of the rewetting measures taken in cut-over bogs. If the analysis reveals that the residual peat is unsuitable for floating raft formation, deep inundation is inappropriate unless suitable peat from other locations can be introduced.

Key words

Bog restoration Cut-over bog Methane Peat buoyancy Peat quality Sphagnum 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aerts R. and Chapin III F.S. 2000. The mineral nutrition of wild plants revisited: a re-evaluation of processes and patterns. Adv. Ecol. Res. 30: 1–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aerts R., Wallén B., Malmer N. and De Caluwe H. 2001. Nutritional constraints on Sphagnum-growth and potential decay in northern peatlands. J. Ecol. 89: 292–299.Google Scholar
  3. Baker R.G.E. and Boatman D.J. 1990. Some effects of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and carbon dioxide on the morphology and vegetative reproduction of Sphagnum cuspidatum Ehrh. New Phytol. 116: 605–611.Google Scholar
  4. Barkman J.J. 1992. Plant communities and synecology of bogs and heath pools in the Netherlands. In: Verhoeven J.T.A. (ed) Fens and Bogs in the Netherlands: Vegetation, History, Nutrient dynamics and Conservation. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, pp. 173–235.Google Scholar
  5. Beltman B., Kooijman A.M., Rouwenhorst G. and Van Kerkhoven M. 1996. Nutrient availability and plant growth limitation in blanket mires in Ireland. Proc. Roy. Irish Acad. 96B: 77–87.Google Scholar
  6. Bergman I., Svensson B.H. and Nilsson M. 1998. Regulation of methane production in a Swedish acid mire by pH, temperature and substrate. Soil Biol. Biochem. 30: 729–741.Google Scholar
  7. Bergman I., Klarqvist M. and Nilsson M. 2000. Seasonal variation in rates of methane production from peat of various botanical origins: effects of temperature and substrate quality. FEMS Microbiol. Ecol. 33: 181–189.Google Scholar
  8. Bhattacharya S.K., Uberoi V. and Dronamraju M.M. 1996. Interaction between acetate fed sulfate reducers and methanogens. Water Res. 30: 2239–2246.Google Scholar
  9. Bozkurt S., Lucisano M., Moreno L. and Neretnieks I. 2001. Peat as a potential analogue for the long-term evolution in landfills. Earth Sci. Rev. 53: 95–147.Google Scholar
  10. Bridgham S.D. and Richardson C.J. 1992. Mechanisms controlling soil respiration (CO2 and CH4) in southern peatlands. Soil Biol. Biochem. 24: 1089–1099.Google Scholar
  11. Brown A., Mathur S.P. and Kushner D.J. 1989. An ombrotrophic bog as a methane reservoir. Global Biogeochem. Cy. 3: 205–213.Google Scholar
  12. Buttler A., Dinel H. and Lévesque P.E.M. 1994. Effects of physical, chemical and botanical characteristics of peat on carbon gas fluxes. Soil Sci. 158: 365–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Coulson J.C. and Butterfield J. 1978. An investigation of the biotic factors determining the rates of plant decomposition on blanket bog. J. Ecol. 66: 631–650.Google Scholar
  14. Crill P.M., Bartlett K.B., Harriss R.C., Gorham E., Verry E.S., Sebacher D.I., Mazdar L. and Sanner W. 1988. Methane flux from minnesota peatlands. Global Biogeochem. Cy. 2: 317–384.Google Scholar
  15. Damman W.H. 1988. Regulation of nitrogen removal and retention in Sphagnum bogs and other peatlands. Oikos 51: 291–305.Google Scholar
  16. Dunfield P., Knowles R., Dumont R. and Moore T.R. 1993. Methane production and consumption in temperate and subarctic peat soils: response to temperature and pH. Soil Biol. Biochem. 25: 321–326.Google Scholar
  17. Fechner-Levy E.J. and Hemond H.F. 1996. Trapped methane volume and potential effects on methane ebullition in a northern peatland. Limnol. Oceanogr. 41: 1375–1383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Frenzel P. and Karofeld E. 2000. CH4 emission from a hollow-ridge complex in a raised bog: the role of CH4 production and oxidation. Biogeochemistry 51: 91–112.Google Scholar
  19. Goering H.K. and Van Soest P.J. 1970. Forage Fiber Analyses (Apparatus, Reagents, Procedures and some Applications). Agricultural handbook 379, Agricultural Service Department of Agriculture, Washington, USA.Google Scholar
  20. Gorham E. 1991. Northern peatlands: role in the carbon cycle and probable responses to climatic warming. Ecol. Appl. 1: 182–195.Google Scholar
  21. Grasshoff K. and Johannsen H. 1977. A new sensitive method for the determination of ammonia in sea water. Water Res. 2: 516.Google Scholar
  22. Grosvernier P.h., Matthey Y. and Buttler A. 1997. Growth potential of three Sphagnum species in relation to water table level and peat properties with implications for their restoration in cut-over bogs. J. Appl. Ecol. 34: 471–483.Google Scholar
  23. Grumpelt H. 1991. Peat. In: Elvers B., Hawkins S. and Schulz G. (eds) Ullmann’s Encyclopedia of Chemical Industrial Chemistry. 5th edn. Vol. 19A. VCH, Weinheim, Germany, pp. 15–48.Google Scholar
  24. Hassink J. 1995. Density fractions of soil macroorganic matter and microbial biomass as predictors of C and N mineralization. Soil Biol. Biochem. 8: 1099–1108.Google Scholar
  25. Henriksen A. 1965. An automated method for determining low-level concentrations of phosphate in fresh and saline waters. Analyst 90: 29–34.Google Scholar
  26. Ingram H.A.P. 1978. Soil layers in mires: function and terminology. J. Soil Sci. 29: 224–227.Google Scholar
  27. Joosten J.H.J. 1995. Time to regenerate: long-term perspectives of raised bog regeneration with special emphasis on Palaeocological studies. In: Wheeler B.D., Shaw S.C., Fojt W.J. and Robertson R.A. (eds) Restoration of Temperate Wetlands. John Wiley & Sons Ltd., Chichester, UK, pp. 379–404.Google Scholar
  28. Kingston H.M. and Haswell S.J. 1997. Microwave Enhanced Chemistry: Fundamentals, Sample Preparation and Applications. American Chemical Society, Washington DC, USA.Google Scholar
  29. Kok C.J. and Van de Laar B.J. 1991. Influence of pH and buffering capacity on the decomposition of Nymphea alba L. detritus in laboratory experiments: a possible explanation for the inhibition of decomposition at low alkalinity. Verh. Internat. Verein. Limnol. 24: 2689–2692.Google Scholar
  30. Lamers L.P.M., Tomassen H.B.M. and Roelofs J.G.M. 1998. Sulfate-induced eutrophication and phytotoxicity in freshwater wetlands. Environ. Sci. Technol. 32: 199–205.Google Scholar
  31. Lamers L.P.M., Farhoush C., Van Groenendael J.M. and Roelofs J.G.M. 1999. Calcareous groundwater raises bogs; the concept of ombrotrophy revisited. J. Ecol. 87: 639–648.Google Scholar
  32. Lamers L.P.M., Bobbink R. and Roelofs J.G.M. 2000. Natural nitrogen filter fails in polluted raised bogs. Glob. Change Biol. 6: 583–586.Google Scholar
  33. Meade R. 1992. Some early changes following the rewetting of a vegetated cutover peatland surface at Danes Moss, Cheshire, UK, and their relevance to conservation management. Biol. Conserv. 61: 31–40.Google Scholar
  34. Money R.P. 1995. Re-establishment of a Sphagnum-dominated flora on cut-over lowland raised bogs. In: Wheeler B.D., Shaw S.C., Fojt W.J. and Robertson R.A. (eds) Restoration of Temperate Wetlands. John Wiley & Sons Ltd., Chichester, UK, pp. 405–422.Google Scholar
  35. Money R.P. and Wheeler B.D. 1999. Some critical questions concerning the restorability of damaged raised bogs. Appl. Veg. Sci. 2: 107–116.Google Scholar
  36. Neijenhuijs F. 1973. Raised bogs in the Netherlands: a disappearing type of landscape? Natuur. Landschap. 27: 98–126 (in Dutch).Google Scholar
  37. Nieveen J.P., Jacobs C.M.J. and Jacobs A.F.G. 1998. Diurnal and seasonal variation of carbon dioxide exchange from a former true raised bog. Glob. Change Biol. 4: 823–833.Google Scholar
  38. Paffen B.P.G. and Roelofs J.G.M. 1991. Impact of carbon dioxide and ammonium on the growth of submerged Sphagnum cuspidatum. Aqua. Bot. 40: 61–71.Google Scholar
  39. Proctor M.C.F. 1995. The ombrogenous bog environment. In: Wheeler B.D., Shaw S.C., Fojt W.J. and Robertson R.A. (eds) Restoration of Temperate Wetlands. John Wiley & Sons Ltd., Chichester, UK, pp. 287–303.Google Scholar
  40. Schouwenaars J.M., Esselink H., Lamers L.P.M. and Van Der Molen P.C. 2002. Restoration of peat bogs in the Netherlands. Current knowledge and future research. Report 2002 084. Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Management and Fisheries, Wageningen, The Netherlands (in Dutch).Google Scholar
  41. Schultz S., Matsuyama H. and Conrad R. 1997. Temperature dependence of methane production from different precursors in a profundal sediment. FEMS Microbiol. Ecol. 22: 207–213.Google Scholar
  42. Scott K.J., Kelly C.A. and Rudd J.W.M. 1999. The importance of floating peat to methane fluxes from flooded peatlands. Biogeochemistry 47: 187–202.Google Scholar
  43. Segers R. 1998. Methane production and methane consumption: a review of processes underlying wetland methane fluxes. Biogeochemistry 41: 23–51.Google Scholar
  44. Smolders A.J.P., Tomassen H.B.M., Pijnappel H. and Roelofs J.G.M. 2001. Substrate-derived CO2 is important in the development of Sphagnum spp. New Phytol. 152: 325–332.Google Scholar
  45. Smolders A.J.P., Raghoebarsing A., Op Den Camp H.J.M., Strous M., Lamers L.P.M., Tomassen H.B.M. and Roelofs J.G.M. 2002a. The growth of submerged Sphagnum cuspidatum: the importance of light and carbon dioxide availability. In: Schmilewski G. and Rochefort L. (eds) Proceedings of the International Peat Symposium, Peat in Horticulture — Quality and Environmental Challenges, Pärnu, Estonia, 3–6 September 2002. International Peat Society, Jyväskylä, Finland, pp. 271–279.Google Scholar
  46. Smolders A.J.P., Tomassen H.B.M., Lamers L.P.M., Lomans B.P. and Roelofs J.G.M. 2002b. Peat bog restoration by floating raft formation: the effects of groundwater and peat quality. J. Appl. Ecol. 39: 391–401.Google Scholar
  47. Smolders A.J.P., Tomassen H.B.M., Van Mullekom M., Lamers L.P.M. and Roelofs J.G.M. 2003. Mechanisms involved in the re-establishment of Sphagnum-dominated vegetation in rewetted bog remnants. Wetlands Ecol. Manage. 11: 403–418.Google Scholar
  48. Swift M.J., Heal O.W. and Anderson J.M. 1979. Decomposition in Terrestrial Ecosystems. University of California Press, Berkely, USA.Google Scholar
  49. Technicon 1969. Industrial Method 33-69W, nitrate + nitrite in water. In: Technicon AutoAnalyser Methodology Technicon Corporation, Karrytown, New York, USA, pp. 1–2.Google Scholar
  50. Tomassen H.B.M., Smolders A.J.P., Van Herk J.M., Lamers L.P.M. and Roelofs J.G.M. 2003. Restoration of cut-over bogs by floating raft formation: an experimental feasibility study. Appl. Veg. Sci. 6: 141–152.Google Scholar
  51. Turetsky M.R. and Wieder R.K. 1999. Boreal bog Sphagnum refixes soil-produced and respired 14CO2. Ecoscience 6: 587–591.Google Scholar
  52. Updegraff K., Pastor J., Bridgham S.D. and Johnston C.A. 1995. Environmental and substrate controls over carbon and nitrogen mineralization in northern wetlands. Ecol. Appl. 5: 151–163.Google Scholar
  53. Van den Pol-van Dasselaar A. and Oenema O. 1999. Methane production and carbon mineralisation of size and density fractions of peat soils. Soil Biol. Biochem. 31: 877–886.Google Scholar
  54. Wheeler B.D. and Shaw S.C. 1995. Restoration of damaged peatlands. Department of the Environment, University of Sheffield, UK & HMSO, London, UK.Google Scholar
  55. Williams R.T. and Crawford R.L. 1984. Methane production in Minnesota peatlands. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 47: 266–271.Google Scholar
  56. Williams R.T. and Crawford R.L. 1985. Methanogenic bacteria, including an acid-tolerant strain, from peatlands. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 50: 1542–1544.Google Scholar
  57. Yavitt J.B., Lang G.E. and Wieder R.K. 1987. Control of carbon mineralization to CH4 and CO2 in anaerobic, Sphagnum-derived peat from Big Run Bog, West Virginia. Biogeochemistry 4: 141–157.Google Scholar
  58. Yavitt J.B., Williams C.J. and Wieder R.K. 1997. Production of methane and carbon dioxide in peatland ecosystems across North America: effects of temperature, aeration, and organic chemistry of peat. Geomicrobiol. J. 14: 299–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Yavitt J.B., Williams C.J. and Wieder R.K. 2000. Controls on microbial production of methane and carbon dioxide in three Sphagnum-dominated peatland ecosystems as revealed by a reciprocal field peat transplant experiment. Geomicrobiol. J. 17: 61–88.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hilde B.M. Tomassen
    • 1
  • Alfons J.P. Smolders
    • 1
  • Leon P.M. Lamers
    • 1
  • Jan G.M. Roelofs
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Aquatic Ecology and Environmental BiologyUniversity of NijmegenNijmegenThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations