Stimulating carbon storage in disturbed French temperate peatlands

A Jacotot
Published: 13 February 2023
Last edited: 13 February 2023
remove_red_eye 1262 Views


Lowland French peatlands are probably all disturbed in one way or another. Most of the time, the water table level was affected through drainage or infrastructure (e. g. road ditches). The result is an increase in the percentage cover of common species that do not favour C storage and biodiversity, such as Molinia caerulea, ericaceous shrubs or Carex paniculata. The dominance of these species occurs at the expense of sphagnum species, which are known as ecosystem engineer through their capacity to promote carbon storage in the form of peat. To tackle this issue, restoration actions were undertaken in two pilot sites in the framework of the Interreg NW Europe Care-Peat project: La Guette peatland (Loire Valley region) and Landemarais peatland (Brittany). First, the common vegetation and the first 10 cm of peat were stripped to get rid of this vegetation and its seed banks. Then, sphagnum was harvested extensively and gathered to form a patch. In this way, the method is both inexpensive and as less destructive as possible


West and South Europe
Scale of implementation
Freshwater ecosystems
Wetland (swamp, marsh, peatland)
Biodiversity mainstreaming
Habitat fragmentation and degradation
Science and research
Loss of Biodiversity
Ecosystem loss
Sustainable development goals
SDG 13 – Climate action
Aichi targets
Target 1: Awareness of biodiversity increased
Target 2: Biodiversity values integrated
Target 5: Habitat loss halved or reduced
Target 10: Ecosystems vulnerable to climate change
Target 11: Protected and conserved areas
Target 15: Ecosystem restoration and resilience


Neuvy-sur-Barangeon, Cher, France
Parigné, Ille-et-Vilaine, France


The sphagnum patches are the starting points from which sphagnum lawns are expected to develop. This should initiate a new durable peat layer that, in the long term, should store significant amount of carbon into the soil in the form of peat. In addition, such an action should promote biodiversity. To assess the impacts, different variables are monitored such as greenhouse gas fluxes and water table depths. Also, peat cores are taken to assess the carbon stock.

Contributed by

wmroz_42263's picture

Wojciech Mróz Eurosite - the European Land Conservation Network

Other contributors

Sébastien Gogo
Université Rennes
Fatima Laggoun
Juliette Mazeron
Université Orléans
Laurent André
Amandine Demessence
Communauté de Communes Vierzon-Sologne-Berry
Emmanuelle Nogues
Conseil départemental d’Ille et Villaine
Alexandra Peyronnet
Conseil départemental du Cher
Adrien Jacotot
Rémi Dupré
Conservatoire Botanique National du Bassin parisien
Francis Muller
Pôle-relais tourbières, Fédération des Conservatoires d’espaces naturels
Grégory Bernard
Pôle-relais tourbières, Fédération des Conservatoires d’espaces naturels