12 Mar 2024

CH4Peat is an EPA-funded research project running from 2022 until 2025 that is working to quantify methane (CH4) emissions from two rewetted peatlands located in the midlands of Ireland.

The principal investigator, Dr. Amey S. Tilak (University of Limerick), works under the guidance of project mentors Prof. Ken Byrne (University of Limerick) and Dr. Matthew Saunders (Trinity College, Dublin).

CH4PEAT works in collaboration with the Bord na Móna Land and Habitats Unit and the LIFE IP Peatlands and People project to monitor carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) fluxes (or exchanges) from two rewetted peatland sites, Ballycon Bog and Derries Bog.

The CO2 and CH4 flux monitoring began in June of 2023 at the Ballycon peatland and from October 2023 at the Derries peatland. The project is using the chamber method, which is a common way to measure the exchange of trace gases between soils and the atmosphere.

At both peatland sites, the CO2 and CH4 fluxes are monitored in different microsites, such as the Sphagnum mosses, Molinia grass, Typha, Phragmites, Carex rostrata, Eriophorum and areas of open water having no vegetation. The initial field monitoring results will be presented at EGU 2024.

Field monitoring at the Ballycon peatland site

In addition to field monitoring, Dr. Amey S. Tilak is actively collaborating with the Virje University in Netherlands to calibrate and validate a computer model “Peatland VU” against the measured CO2 and CH4 flux data from the Ballycon and Derries sites.

The CH4 project team is also collaborating with researchers from the University of Zurich in Switzerland, the Pacific Northwest Research Laboratory in the USA, and the Peatland VU model developers to calibrate and validate the model against CO2 and CH4 flux data measured in the Irish and Swiss peatlands. The results of this work will be developed for publication in scientific journals and presented at international conferences such as the European Geosciences Union.

Through CH4PEAT, Amey calibrated and validated the Peatland VU model against the measured CO2 and CH4 fluxes from an Irish peatland (Scohaboy) and presented the modelling results at the Irish and British Soil Science Society Annual International conference in Belfast in December 2023. You can read the presentation abstract here.

CH4Peat project will also be presenting at the 35th International Geographical Congress 2024 in the C.29 session on Land Use and Land Cover Change: Old peat, new voices: frontiers in global peatland research from early career researchers. The title of this presentation is “Modelling the Peat Block Transplant Potential for Restoring Cutover and Cutaway Drained Peatland” and can be seen at this link.

Read the project overview of the EPA-funded CH4Peat project published in University of Limerick Sustainability Report 2022.