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Peat and Re-Peat: Re-wetting Drained Peatlands as a Natural Climate Solution in Minnesota
Presenter: Kristen Blann, Freshwater Ecologist, The Nature Conservancy

Peatlands are abundant in Minnesota, covering 6 million acres or more, representing more than 10% of the state by area and an estimated 37% of stored terrestrial carbon. However, drainage of peat soils has caused and continues to drive significant carbon losses to the atmosphere due to oxidation and decomposition.  Globally, peatland restoration and avoided peat impacts were identified by Griscom et al. 2017 as two of the potentially most important Natural Climate Solutions (NCS) pathways for holding warming to <2 °C; however, they also had some of the highest uncertainty bars, in part due to uncertainties about the balance of CO2 vs CH4 fluxes.  

The Nature Conservancy in Minnesota is quantifying NCS potential for MN peatland conservation and restoration by mapping drained, partially drained and intact peatlands and extrapolating initial estimates of GHG (CO2 and CH4) stocks and fluxes from literature and monitoring at peatland sites in MN.  We are also working with USFS, UMN, and other peatland science experts to measure and model net GHG fluxes across a gradient of partially drained, restored, and undegraded peatland sites--primarily at the Sax Zim Bog-- to evaluate the short- and long-term effectiveness of restoration as a climate mitigation strategy.

Feb 16, 2023 06:30 PM in Central Time (US and Canada)

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