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Applied and Environmental Soil Science
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 694368, 7 pages
Research Article

Nitrogen Release in Pristine and Drained Peat Profiles in Response to Water Table Fluctuations: A Mesocosm Experiment

1Section of Environmental Ecology, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, Niemenkatu 73, 15140 Lahti, Finland
2Lammi Biological Station, University of Helsinki, Pääjärventie 320, 16900 Lammi, Finland

Received 23 July 2013; Accepted 2 October 2013

Academic Editor: Ryusuke Hatano

Copyright © 2013 Merjo P. P. Laine et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In the northern hemisphere, variability in hydrological conditions was suggested to increase as a consequence of climate warming, which may result in longer droughts than the area has experienced before. Due to their predominately anoxic conditions, peatlands are expected to respond to changes in hydrological conditions, such as successive drying and rewetting periods. As peatlands are rich in organic matter, any major changes in water table may influence the decomposition of it. The hydrological conditions may also influence release of nutrients from peat profiles as well as affect their transport to downstream ecosystems. In our mesocosm experiment, artificial water table fluctuations in pristine peat profiles caused an increase in dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) and ammonium concentrations, while no response was found in drained peat profiles, although originating from the same peatland complex.