The project titled “Vegetation diversity, water balance, and carbon storage in Irish fen peatlands: Revealing spatial patterns and processes for climate mitigation” (Dive2Store) aims to investigate crucial ecosystem processes such as evapotranspiration, water level dynamics, and carbon storage in a degraded and drained fen, and compare them with those of a near-natural fen. The goal is to inform sustainable restoration and management strategies for fen peatlands in Irish catchments.

The project aims to answer two research questions:

(1) How does the vegetation diversity and structure affect water level fluctuation (through evapotranspiration) and thus carbon storage in a degraded and near-natural fen?

(2) Are near-natural fens more spatially heterogeneous in terms of carbon storage than their degraded counterpart?

The project is a joint effort among the Departments of Botany (Dr. Sate Ahmad, Adam Bates, Prof. Jennifer McElwain) and Structural, Civil, and Environmental Engineering (Prof. Laurence Gill) and the National Parks and Wildlife Services (Dr. Shane Regan). It is funded by the Irish Research Council (IRC) in partnership with the Sunflower Charitable Foundation through the Community Foundation for Ireland under the New Foundations Award 2022 (Strand 12).