RM Wetlands and Environment Ltd

Littleworth, United Kingdom

RM Wetlands and Environment Ltd

Littleworth, United Kingdom
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Zak D.,Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries | Meyer N.,Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries | Cabezas A.,Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries | Gelbrecht J.,Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries | And 4 more authors.
Ecological Engineering | Year: 2015

This study was conducted in the course of a fen rewetting project in NE Germany aiming to restore a heavily drained spring-percolation mire used as pasture land for more than 100 years. Shallow top soil removal (TSR) up to 40cm was applied to remove the upper degraded peat layer in order to eliminate accumulated nutrients and unwanted seed banks as well as generating material for infilling drain ditches and building dams. This measure has well known positive effects on species development, but very little was known about the phosphorus (P) status in the newly exposed peat soils and porewater. Therefore, we investigated (i) the P mobilisation potential of surface peat soils, (ii) net P release rates in intact soil cores with different degree of peat decomposition, and (iii) P concentrations in porewater of rewetted fen areas with TSR compared to areas without removal and refilled drain ditches. We highlighted that TSR strongly reduced the P mobilisation potential and thereby also the concentration of dissolved P in the porewater at the peat surface. Furthermore, we found low net P release rates close to 0mgPm-2 d-1 (median, n =9) in the cut-over areas with less degraded peat similar to those documented for natural fens. Despite of high P concentrations up to 2.6mgL-1 in rewetted areas without TSR (about 50% of total peatland area) there was no evidence of elevated P export to other low-nutrient areas of the fen or in a close-by lake due to high P retention capacity of the iron-rich degraded peat (molar Fe:P ratios >10). It can be concluded that TSR is a suitable measure to recover nutrient poor conditions in rewetted fens in a relatively short timeframe instead of decades to centuries compared to rewetting measures without TSR. This measure is highly recommended if degraded peatlands are characterised by a low P retention capacity or low molar Fe/P ratios in degraded peat (<10) respectively and above all if downstream areas include nutrient-poor systems highly sensitive regarding slightly increased P inputs. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

Zak D.,Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries | Reuter H.,Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries | Augustin J.,Leibniz Center for Agricultural Landscape Research | Shatwell T.,Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries | And 3 more authors.
Biogeosciences | Year: 2015

Rewetting of long-term drained fens often results in the formation of eutrophic shallow lakes with an average water depth of less than 1 m. This is accompanied by a fast vegetation shift from cultivated grasses via submerged hydrophytes to helophytes. As a result of rapid plant dying and decomposition, these systems are highly dynamic wetlands characterised by a high mobilisation of nutrients and elevated emissions of CO2 and CH4. However, the impact of specific plant species on these phenomena is not clear. Therefore we investigated the CO2 and CH4 production due to the subaqueous decomposition of shoot biomass of five selected plant species which represent different rewetting stages (Phalaris arundinacea, Ceratophyllum demersum, Typha latifolia, Phragmites australis and Carex riparia) during a 154 day mesocosm study. Beside continuous gas flux measurements, we performed bulk chemical analysis of plant tissue, including carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and plant polymer dynamics. Plant-specific mass losses after 154 days ranged from 25% (P. australis) to 64% (C. demersum). Substantial differences were found for the CH4 production with highest values from decomposing C. demersum (0.4 g CH4 kgg'1 dry mass day) that were about 70 times higher than CH4 production from C. riparia. Thus, we found a strong divergence between mass loss of the litter and methane production during decomposition. If C. demersum as a hydrophyte is included in the statistical analysis solely nutrient contents (nitrogen and phosphorus) explain varying greenhouse gas production of the different plant species while lignin and polyphenols demonstrate no significant impact at all. Taking data of annual biomass production as important carbon source for methanogens into account, high CH4 emissions can be expected to last several decades as long as inundated and nutrient-rich conditions prevail. Different restoration measures like water level control, biomass extraction and top soil removal are discussed in the context of mitigation of CH4 emissions from rewetted fens. © Author(s) 2015.

Everard M.,University of the West of England | Harrington R.,Waterford County Council | McInnes R.J.,RM Wetlands and Environment Ltd
Ecosystem Services | Year: 2012

This research addressed measures necessary to overcome barriers to the implementation of integrated resource management solutions delivering multiple ecosystem services, using the case of the Anne Valley integrated constructed wetlands (ICWs) in County Waterford, Ireland. The benefits of ICWs are reviewed, and feedback from interviews with a range of people from farming, national government and policy, business, County Council and other perspectives, is analysed using the STEEP framework. Whilst we acknowledge bias in interviewee selection, there is considerable local support for ICWs reflecting multiple social, environmental and economic benefits. Indeed, the Irish government has published design guidance for ICWs. However, there remain disconnects between some regulatory and other bodies, which appear to be related to their tradition of looking at issues from a more narrow, discipline-specific perspective. These barriers are not unique to Ireland, but representative of the areas of cultural change necessary to enable more connected ways of thinking, technological development and implementation and its subsequent licensing and regulation. The experience therefore has generic relevance not merely for the broader pervasion of the benefits of ICWs across Ireland and the wider world, but also in evaluating and implementing the efficacy of similar multi-benefit solutions. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Everard M.,University of the West of England | McInnes R.,RM Wetlands and Environment Ltd.
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2013

The environmental and financial costs of inputs to, and unintended consequences arising from narrow consideration of outputs from, water and environmental management technologies highlight the need for low-input solutions that optimise outcomes across multiple ecosystem services. Case studies examining the inputs and outputs associated with several ecosystem-based water and environmental management technologies reveal a range from those that differ little from conventional electro-mechanical engineering techniques through methods, such as integrated constructed wetlands (ICWs), designed explicitly as low-input systems optimising ecosystem service outcomes. All techniques present opportunities for further optimisation of outputs, and hence for greater cumulative public value. We define 'systemic solutions' as "... low-input technologies using natural processes to optimise benefits across the spectrum of ecosystem services and their beneficiaries". They contribute to sustainable development by averting unintended negative impacts and optimising benefits to all ecosystem service beneficiaries, increasing net economic value. Legacy legislation addressing issues in a fragmented way, associated 'ring-fenced' budgets and established management assumptions represent obstacles to implementing 'systemic solutions'. However, flexible implementation of legacy regulations recognising their primary purpose, rather than slavish adherence to detailed sub-clauses, may achieve greater overall public benefit through optimisation of outcomes across ecosystem services. Systemic solutions are not a panacea if applied merely as 'downstream' fixes, but are part of, and a means to accelerate, broader culture change towards more sustainable practice. This necessarily entails connecting a wider network of interests in the formulation and design of mutually-beneficial systemic solutions, including for example spatial planners, engineers, regulators, managers, farming and other businesses, and researchers working on ways to quantify and optimise delivery of ecosystem services. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

McInnes R.J.,RM Wetlands and Environment Ltd
Marine and Freshwater Research | Year: 2014

Ecosystems, and wetlands in particular, provide services that support and enhance human well being. In an increasingly urbanising world, the appropriate planning and management of ecosystem services can benefit a growing urban population. In 2011 UN-Habitat's Governing Council adopted a Resolution that provided a mandate to promote biodiversity, wetlands and ecosystem services within the human settlement agenda. Subsequently, and developed in collaboration with UN-Habitat, in 2012 the Ramsar Convention also adopted a Resolution on the principles for the planning and management of urban and periurban wetlands and invited countries to raise awareness of the importance of wetlands to urban populations. This paper considered case studies drawn from cities across the globe in order to understand the level of awareness of ecosystem services from urban areas. The study demonstrated that ecosystem services were consistently under-recognised and that the failure to recognise the benefits is greatest for the ecosystem services provided by wetlands and in particular for supporting services. To ensure that the obligations under the two resolutions are implemented, and that urbanisation delivers high levels of societal well being, will require the development, dissemination and adoption of practical tools and a more robust integration of ecosystem services into urban planning and decision-making. © CSIRO 2014.

McInnes R.J.,RM Wetlands and Environment Ltd
Wetlands | Year: 2013

The benefits human societies derive from wetlands are well established, although not necessarily enshrined in legislation or incorporated into local management regimes. The wise use of wetlands, as promulgated under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, is intended as a mechanism to ensure that the benefits delivered to society through ecosystem services are maintained and, where appropriate, restored. The designation process for Ramsar Sites explicitly records information on ecosystem services as well as the more traditionally recorded information on the biodiversity and management procedures. Analysis of four Ramsar Sites from the county of Sussex in southeast England showed that even for internationally important wetlands there is a failure to recognize the full value of the benefits provided and, importantly, several valuable ecosystem services remain unrecognized. The gap between recognized and unrecognized ecosystem services has implications for the consideration of wetlands in decision-making and the protection and wise use of all wetlands within Sussex and beyond. Conclusions drawn from the analysis of the examples presented are used to assist the future development of guidance for wetland managers and decision makers regarding the recognition of ecosystem services. © 2013 Society of Wetland Scientists.

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