Action: Reduce fertilizer or herbicide use near peatlands
Key messagesRead our guidance on Key messages before continuing
- We found no studies that evaluated the effects, on peatland vegetation, of reducing fertilizer or herbicide use in adjacent areas.
‘We found no studies’ means that we have not yet found any studies that have directly evaluated this action during our systematic journal and report searches. Therefore we have been unable to assess whether or not the action is effective or has any harmful impacts. Please get in touch if you know of such a study for this action.
Fertilizers and herbicides can have negative effects on peatland vegetation if they spill over from agricultural or domestic land (Smolders et al. 2010). Herbicides can kill plants directly. Run off from fertilized land can carry excess nutrients (such as nitrogen and phosphorous) into peatlands, altering their naturally low nutrient levels. Simply applying less fertilizer or herbicide to agricultural land near peatlands could reduce the amount spilling over into peatlands. Ultimately, reduced chemical application could be driven by legislation, financial incentives and/or education.
Key peatland types for which this action may be appropriate: bogs, fens/fen meadows, tropical peat swamps.
Related actions: other techniques to reduce fertilizer or herbicide runoff into peatlands, without necessarily reducing the total amount applied.
Smolders A.J.P., Lucassen E.C.H.E.T., Bobbink R., Roelofs J.G.M. & Lamers L.P.M. (2010) How nitrate leaching from agricultural lands provokes phosphate eutrophication in groundwater fed wetlands: the sulphur bridge. Biogeochemistry, 98, 1–7.