The effect of underground drainage on peat meadows and inactivation of the drainage in an attempt to restore these meadows, which failed as it reduced the ability of soils to retain water
Keywords:drainage, peatlands, restoration, soil water retention, soil surface temperature
Drainage is often used to increase agriculture production, but it has adverse effects on biodiversity and water retention. Here, the effect of subsurface pipe drainage on peat meadows near Senotín (Czechia), which were drained from the mid-1980s to 1990s, was studied. Attempts were made to restore the peat meadows by damming drainage pipes using clay-filled trenches in 1996. In this case study, the effect on the depth of the water table, soil water retention, infiltration and soil temperature were recorded. Measurements of the original peat meadow (undrained site), drained meadow (drained site) and restored meadow (restored site) before restoration and two decades after restoration were recorded. The water table in undrained areas was higher than at drained and restored sites, indicating that drainage had lasting effect on drained and restored sites. Infiltration was lowest at the undrained site, greater at the drained site, and highest at the restored sites. Field water capacity was lowest at the restored site, greater at the drained site and highest at the undrained site. Soil water content at maximum saturation was lowest at the restored site, greater at the drained site and highest at the undrained site. Soil temperature was highest at the restored site with no significant difference between the undrained and drained sites. Soil moisture levels were highest at the undrained site and lowest at the drained site. In addition, the undrained and restored sites did not differ significantly in soil moisture content. In conclusion, restoration did not have a significant effect on the level of the water table, initiation of peat formation or ability of soil to hold water.
Copyright (c) 2023 Jimmy Clifford Oppong, Michal Kešner, Jana Machačková, Jiri Kučera, Jan Frouz
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