Organic Soils

torfhaltiges Bodenprofil
Peat-containing drained organic soil with sediment interlayers in the Swiss Seeland.

Organic soils are important carbon sinks. In bogs and fens, they are formed by the incomplete (anaerobic) decomposition of plant matter in the waterlogged soil. The agricultural use of these soils generally  requires their drainage. Aeration of the previously waterlogged strata leads to terrain subsidence, peat decomposition, and thus to major and persistent CO2 and N2O emissions.

Our research focuses on the following aspects:



Organic Soil Surface Area

The extent of the current organic soils was estimated.


Emissions from Organic Soils

To quantify the current greenhouse-gas emissions of drained organic soils used for agriculture, we are measuring CO2, methane and nitrous oxide greenhouse-gas exchange at various sites over a period of several years.


Peat Quality

The physical structure and chemical composition of peat is an indicator of whether and to what extent and how long ago a site was drained.