The effects of restoration on biodiversity, water quality and greenhouse gas fluxes in a rich fen peatland

Menichino, Nina Marie (2015) The effects of restoration on biodiversity, water quality and greenhouse gas fluxes in a rich fen peatland. PhD thesis, Prifysgol Bangor University.

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Rich fens are globally significant wetlands due to their high biodiversity and provision of multiple ecosystem services, such as water purification and climate mitigation. However, many U.K. rich fens have become botanically degraded. This is principally due to abandonment, following the cessation of management (mowing/grazing) and has led to a decline in plant species richness. Although the response to mowing on plant species richness has been well documented across Europe, there is no prior knowledge of this research being undertaken at U.K rich fens. Additionally, the effects of mowing on water quality are largely unquantified. Furthermore, the spatial heterogeneity of greenhouse gases across and within botanically rich and botanically poor sites is also unknown. Two rich fen plant communities: Cladio-Molinietum (n=9) and Scheonus nigricans - Juncus subnodulosus (n=8) were examined across three sites; chosen for their conservation value and current degraded condition. A 50 % success rate was achieved following mowing to increase species richness, which meant assumptions were not met for both plant communities. Nitrate, phosphate and dissolved organic carbon concentrations did not reduce following mowing, however there was a beneficial increase in concentration of base cations at both sites. The greenhouse gas investigation revealed that the net gaseous carbon flux between both sites was comparable, which did not meet expectations that the botanically impoverished site would have higher carbon emissions, however, expected differences between plant communities were observed at both sites. Therefore, this study shows the complexity of the botanical, hydro-chemical and greenhouse gas spatial heterogeneity at rich fens. Careful examination prior to restoration is needed to determine whether environmental/ecological barriers have been removed, so that restoration is not in any way inhibited. In addition, this study has demonstrated that objectives for biodiversity may be in conflict with objectives to manage for other ecosystem services, in these multi-functional wetlands.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: Degree Thesis
Departments: College of Natural Sciences > School of Biological Sciences
Degree Thesis
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2017 13:07
Last Modified: 06 Apr 2017 13:07
URI: http://e.bangor.ac.uk/id/eprint/9848
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