Stephan Glatzel at the Department of Geography and Regional Research is leading the “PRINCESS” project.

Description: The PRINCESS project investigates the potential role of rewetting drained, nitrogen contaminated peatlands in reducing EU-wide greenhouse gas emissions, improving wetland biodiversity while minimizing socio-economic impacts on stakeholders. Currently, ~10% global peatlands are classified as drained/degraded, accounting for ~6% of anthropogenic GHG emissions. Paludiculture (wet agriculture/forestry) can reduce/reverse net ‘drained peatland’ greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, resulting in carbon sequestration, reduced nitrogen mineralization, enhance nitrogen removal and restore peatland-specific biodiversity. PRINCESS will provide vital scientific information for EU agricultural land use policy via the evaluation of rewetting effects under different land uses (high-, low-intensity paludiculture, wet wilderness) and nitrogen loads, addressing existing knowledge gaps related to the direct/indirect consequences of nitrogen loads on biodiversity, GHG emission, nitrate release and biomass yield in rewetted peatlands.

The project seeks to investigate: tipping points of soil Carbon & Nitrogen cycling at microcosm (µm-cm) scale, GHG budget estimation & controls utilising mesocosms, real world effects of nutrient & land use management on greenhouse gas emissions, upscaling GHG estimations based on predictors, v) socio-economic modelling based on land management options, as well as effective means of outreach and development of biodiversity, climate, water and agriculture policies.

Collaborators: University of Vienna, University of Greifswald (Germany), University of Warsaw (Poland), University of Antwerp (Belgium), Natural Resources Institute (LUKE) (Finland), Norwegian Institute for Nature Research(NINA)

Duration: 4 years (1.2.2021 – 31.1.2025)