Mitigating carbon emissions from cultivated peat soils by innovative water management
The project is part of Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry's Hiilestä kiinni research and innovation program.
Greenhouse gas emissions from cultivated peat soils account for more than half of the total agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, even though they cover about 10% of the cultivated area. High water table has been identified as the most effective way to slow down the decomposition of peat, and the resulting carbon emissions into the atmosphere and water bodies. VESIHIISI project aims at reducing carbon emissions from cultivated peat soils through water management measures like controlled drainage and subsurface irrigation.
The project work is divided into five work packages and is conducted by Natural Resources Institute Finland, Finnish Field Drainage Association, National Land Survey of Finland and University of Oulu in 2021-2023. The aims of the project are 1) to provide an accurate estimate of the potential of water management to reduce carbon loss from peat soils to the atmosphere and water bodies, 2) to provide hydrological simulations to predict the suitability of water level control on different sites, 4) to assess the farm scale economic conditions and impacts of water management, and identify incentives for its implementation and 5) to develop a prototype of an automated, networked and remotely controlled control well system suitable for peat field water management, which also offers the possibility for subsurface irrigation.
The project improves the technological preconditions to achieve emission reductions through water management, the assessment of the effects of water management and incentives to implement water management methods, and eventually the development of Finland’s carbon neutrality. At the same time, the goal of reducing water pollution and measures to combat drought will be promoted. The project will enable more efficient targeting of emission reduction measures.
The project also promotes the reporting of the effects of emission reduction measures and creates conditions for new business. The results are intended to be used both in practical measures and in support of agricultural policy decision-making.