What is PeatlandN2O?

The ground-breaking nature of the PeatlandN2O (N2O Budgets in Peatlands – from Process to Ecosystem) project lies in the integrated use of a combination of innovative methods, yielding a pioneering synthesis and modeling of nitrous oxide fluxes (N2O) at various spatial scales, linked to microbial processes. The Project will:

  1. determine the role of rapidly changing environmental factors such as soil moisture, freeze-thaw, and canopy effectson N2O emission, particularly in hot spots and hot moments;
  2. distinguish between and quantify key N2O production and consumption processes using labelled nitrogen, isotopologues, and microbiome structure;
  3. integrate results of experiments and novel measurement techniques (automated chambers, stationary and mobile eddy covariance towers, canopy profile analysis) into the PEATN2O model of N2O fluxes and related environmental factors to enable the prediction of hot spots and hot moments of N2O emissions;
  4. upgrade IPCC emission factors and suitable land-use strategies to mitigate N2O emissions in peatlands, also considering other greenhouse gases;
  5. predict the global distribution of N2O emissions according to the land use and five climate change scenarios for a 100-year time horizon.

Why N2O & peatlands?

Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a powerful greenhouse gas and dangerous stratospheric O3 depleting agent. N2O climate warming potential is 265 times higher than CO2. Drained nitrogen-rich peat soils are major source of N2O globally. Climate extreme events may boost the emissions, but knowledge of their effect is scarce. N2O is a product of various soil processes, including denitrification, nitrification, and other less-studied mechanisms. Partitioning of N2O fluxes between all these different mechanisms is still a major challenge. Microbial processes are of particular importance for N2O budgets. The role of canopy and tree stems in N2O budgets is currently unknown. Novel flux measurement techniques implemented at different levels in combination with remote sensing methods can provide a solid basis for adequate estimation of long-term N2O fluxes in peatlands from local to the global scale.


Comparison of N2O fluxes highlighting knowledge gaps addressed by PEATN2O model

This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC)
under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme
Grant Agreement No 101096403 — PeatlandN2O — ERC-2023-ADG