Restore natural water level fluctuations
Overall effectiveness category No evidence found (no assessment)
Number of studies: 0
Background information and definitions
The water table in peatlands may naturally move up and down depending on the season, rainfall events and regional ground-water levels. Management to maintain stable water levels, for example in fens used for agriculture, can lead to nutrient enrichment and reduced plant diversity. Nutrient enrichment can occur because of chemical reactions in dry peat (especially the release of phosphorous), or because input water used to control the water level contains nutrients (Lamers et al. 2002). Reinstating water level fluctuations could allow natural communities to recover.
Key peatland types where this action may be appropriate: bogs, fens/fen meadows, tropical peat swamps.
Related action: rewetting, which may restore a naturally fluctuating water table without examining the effect of these fluctuations per se.
Lamers L.P.M., Smolders A.J.P. & Roelofs J.G.M. (2002) The restoration of fens in the Netherlands. Hydrobiologia, 478, 107–130.