New Zealand project obtains H2020 funds
Black peat soil ©Richard Humphrey

New Zealand project obtains H2020 funds

Researchers from the University of Waikato, New Zealand, have obtained funding under the EU’s Horizon 2020 ERA-GAS funding as part of the international PEATWISE consortium.

Associate Professor at the University of Waikato, David Campbell, said: “An exciting aspect of this new funding is the expansion of our team’s agricultural GHG research programme into drained peat soils”.

PEATWISE will be funded through the Monitoring & Mitigation of Greenhouse Gases from Agri- and Silvi-Culture (ERA-GAS) arm of H2020. Its partners include research organisations and universities from Norway, Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands and Denmark. Research will focus on improving national GHG inventories and mitigating emissions used in efficient farm management practices.

The success reflects the university’s investment in building capacity, specifically in the eddy covariance system, which can take measurements from an agricultural setting. Three gases of interest can be measured simultaneously: carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane.

Peat soils, while contributing to a small percentage of New Zealand’s soil types, make a disproportionately large contribution to soil CO2 emissions. Professor Campbell’s past research has estimated this amount to be around seven tonnes of carbon dioxide per hectare in each year.

Throughout years one and two, CO2 fluxes will be continuously measured at paired farm sites with differing management practices, such as grazing, nutrient and effluence management.

Research will also determine the effect of lime incorporation and cultivation on annual CO2 emissions. The project intends to work alongside Waikato Regional Council on aspects of the initiative.

The €300,000 funding will be contracted to the Ministry of Primary Industries and starts in July.