A Monitoring and Verification Programme is being developed to validate or verify the benefits of the proposed enhanced measures to optimise climate action. This will focus on a collecting a range of scientific data that can be quickly adapted into metrics that can be used to measure changes in various ecosystem services such as changes in carbon fluxes.
This monitoring and verification programme will include the measurement of carbon fluxes i.e. carbon emissions and removals, greenhouse gases (GHG) and fluvial carbon losses.
Some research projects have already been carried out on Bord na Móna lands (co-funded by the EPA & BnM) to determine the GHG balance of cutaway bogs in different environments and management scenarios (Carbal, CarbonRestore, Reedflux, NEROS). The scale of research activities has ranged from plot-scale (2 m x 2m) across rehabilitated acidic cutaway, rewetted alkaline cutaway and drained bare peat. This has generated some data for the establishment of greenhouse gas fluxes and emission factors across different types of raised ecotypes, cutover bog and degraded peatlands. There are also several ongoing projects (SMARTBOG, SWAMP) that will also establish ecosystem scale measurements (>10 ha) and will refine GHG fluxes and carbon losses via water from degraded peatland habitats including some Bord Na Móna sites.
The SMARTBOG project is establishing an eddy-covariance flux tower (EC) at Cavemount Bog (characterised by alkaline wetland habitats). One EC tower has been established on an area of Birch woodland (Lullymore) and is included as SMARTBOG Project. This project is underway as a partnership between UCC/TCD/UCD and is managed by UCC.
Cavemount is a re-wetted bog that is characterised by its wetland development and is a typical example of how many future rehabilitated Bord Na Móna cutaways will develop in the future, particularly sites with pumped drainage. Greenhouse gas fluxes at an ecosystem level from this type of wetland cutaway with a mosaic of different vegetation types are not clearly understood.
In order to generate a broader understanding of carbon and GHG emissions across the BnM bogs and to validate the benefits of PCAS, it is proposed that a network of eddy covariance flux towers (and weather stations) with plot scale emission verification (static chambers) across several different cutaway environments will be established.
The Monitoring and Verification programme will take account of this previous and ongoing research. Ongoing monitoring programmes will follow best practise and will develop a robust and efficient monitoring scheme that will efficiently measure various benefits that will flow from the enhanced rehabilitation improvements during its initial phases. In addition to the broader scientific community, this research will have particular value for Bord na Mona and be of particular interest to parties including, EPA, DCCAE, Local authorities, ENGOs and local communities.
Bord na Móna have initiated a site selection study to select suitable sites for establishment of Eddy Co-variance flux towers.