21 Jul 2023

The EPA-funded project CH4PEAT began in April 2022 and is measuring and modelling methane fluxes from two rewetted peatlands in Ireland's midlands.

The first phase of the project ran until December 2022 and involved literature reviews that assessed global methane emissions from drained and rewetted peatlands, methane emissions from Irish peatland restoration projects, and different approaches to monitoring and modelling methane emissions.

Two peatland sites, Ballycon and Cavemount in Co. Offaly, were selected for monitoring in collaboration with Bord na Móna and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). Methane monitoring at the Ballycon site began in June 2023 (see image 1 below), and the monitoring at Cavemount will begin in the coming weeks.

Image 1. Set up for monitoring methane at the Ballycon peatland site in Co. Offaly.

In collaboration with the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) in the United Kingdom, a peat motion camera was installed at the Cavemount site to measure peat subsidence (sinking), along with different environmental variables including water depth, peat, and air temperature). The set-up of the peat motion camera is shown in image 2 below.

The methane fluxes and variables which are measured on site will then be fed into a computer model called the Peatland VU to improve our understanding of methane emissions from rewetted peatlands.

Image 2. The team busy setting up the peat motion camera at Cavemount in Co. Offaly to measure peat subsidence.

The CH4PEAT Principal Investigators (PIs) recently collaborated with Maynooth University, Technological University of Shannon (TUS), University of Birmingham, CEH, and the NPWS on a modelling manuscript which was submitted to Wetlands journal in February 2023. The article models the likelihood of Sphagnum moss recolonisation occurring at a degraded bog in Offaly based on Irish climatic conditions. The model also identifies which Sphagnum species will best sustain under harsh environmental conditions.

The project PIs presented their activities in a poster at the EPA Climate Action Seminar in Dublin in April 2023.

CH4PEAT is a 3-year research project funded under the EPA Research Program 2021-2030. Find out more about CH4PEAT on their website, or stay up to date on Twitter.