Title: Optimising Wetland Restoration and Management Strategies for Carbon Uptake

Duration: 1.01.2022 – 31.12.2025

Principal investigator: Kuno Kasak

Finance program: Personal research funding: Start-up grant (PSG)

Annotation: Restoring degraded peat soils is an attractive, but largely untested climate change mitigation approach. Drained peat soils used for agriculture or for peat extraction are often large greenhouse gas sources. Restoring subsided peat soils to managed, impounded wetlands can turn these sources into carbon sinks. However, at present, the amount of scientific information available to guide such restoration decisions and assess the impact of these actions is still sparse and restoration outcome can be low carbon uptake and high methane emissions. Therefore, the overarching objective of this project is to provide an experimental and theoretical understanding how to restore wetlands with minimised methane emissions and maximised carbon uptake. To develop restoration recommendations, we will analyse multiple drivers for greenhouse gas emissions including site specific hydrology, legacy effects, soil chemistry, soil microbiology, vegetation development and dynamics.


Title: The impact of drainage ditch reconstruction works to water quality in well drained peatland forests and efficiency of water protection measures to prevent pollution

Duration: 01.08.2022 - 31.07.2025

Principal investigator: Kuno Kasak

Finance program: Estonian State Forest Management Centre

Annotation: The main goal of this project is to understand how reconstruction works of drainage ditches in well drained peatland forests affect water quality and which water protection measures have the highest efficiency to improve the water quality. The two water protections measures that are analysed in depth are sedimentation ponds and hybrid systems where sedimentation pond is combined with treatment wetland.


Title: REstoration of WETlands to minimise emissions and maximise carbon uptake – a strategy for long term climate mitigation

Duration: Starting in autumn 2022 (total 48 months)

Principal investigator in Estonian group: Kuno Kasak

Finance program: HORIZON-CL5-2021-D1-01

Annotation: Project will facilitate the sustainable restoration and conservation of terrestrial wetlands – freshwater wetlands, peatlands, and floodplains. To do so, REWET draws upon the network of carefully selected seven demonstrators (Open Labs ≥ 2400 ha in total) that cover a range of local conditions, geographic characteristics, governance structures and social/cultural settings to fully understand the wetlands-carbon-climate nexus and provide an replication plan to boost successful wetlands restoration throughout Europe and internationally. In the Open Labs, the most fit-for-purpose technologies will be applied for the monitoring of GHG (Eddy Covariance towers, satellite imagery, field measurements), biodiversity, and meteorological events. Furthermore, the social aspect will be analysed, by evaluating gender differences, locals, and key stakeholders acceptance. REWET has two additional strong scientific pillars: the assessment of EU wetlands status in Europe and modelling. Together with the Open Labs, they will fill out the gaps on wetlands science and provide guidance for cost-effective restoration and monitoring practices that are environmentally friendly, compatible with the future climate and provide a wide range of ecosystem services. As main outcomes, REWET will deliver a wetlands inventory with carbon sink potential, models for wetlands GHG emissions/sequestration under different scenarios including climate change, policy recommendations for wetlands restoration, sound business models and a roadmap for replication. The REWET consortium is a transdisciplinary partnership between researchers, industry partners (SME), non-profit entities, responsible agencies at the local and watershed/regional level and one international organisation, dedicated to achieving the desired outcomes of the project.


Title: Water-based solutions for carbon storage, people and wilderness

Duration: 1.12.2021–30.11.2026

Principal investigator: Marko Kohv. Kuno Kasak responsible for micrometeorological measurements over restored peatlands. 

Finance program: Horizon 2020 Programme

Annotation: Wetlands provide vital but often overlooked services, and are also some of the most degraded ecosystems on the planet. The aim of this project is to investigate the combination of factors which will permit the upscaling of wetland restoration across Europe. The project will be directed by the need to engage with multiple stakeholders to fully understand their needs and then to identify the governance structures and financing required to support these goals. To provide for this engagement, the project will examine the range of ecosystem services that wetlands currently provide, and what they could potentially provide, and the spatial and social distribution of these services. To understand the costs and practicalities of this, the project will also examine the combination of the ecological and hydrological conditions needed to upscale the restoration of a range of wetland types across Europe, drawing on existing experience to explore novel approaches that provide the capacity to sustain environmental conditions and maintain resilience in the context of climate change. By addressing stakeholders and ecology together, the project will determine the implications of transitioning away from existing uses (where relevant), the potential for replacement activities, and the requirements for environmental, economic and social sustainability. By doing so, this project aims to design, test and mobilise a new paradigm for scalable restoration of wetlands and the services they provide.