Above- and below-ground diversity in restored peatlands: is there a link?

Roxane Andersen, Line Rochefort and Laurent Grasset

After Wise Use – The Future of Peatlands, Proceedings of the 13th International Peat Congress: Peatland After-Use

functional-diversity, microbial-community-structure, monitoring-of-ecological-restoration, ombrotrophic-peatlands, plfas

Andersen et al. 2008: Above- and below-ground diversity in restored peatlands: is there a link?


Diversity of micro-organisms in peatlands is important from a functional point of view, and is greatly reduced by harvesting activities that remove the top layer of peatland where vegetation, microbes, fresh organic matter and seed banks are found. Restoration has proven to allow a good vegetation recovery: in some sites a par- ticularly healthy moss cover dominated by Sphagnum species suggests a good potential for organic matter ac- cumulation. Nevertheless, it was shown that the recovery of microbial activities was delayed in comparison with vegetation reestablishment following restoration, mainly as a consequence of the poor quality of the carbon in highly decomposed peat. Whereas aboveground diversity is well documented in restored sites, only scarce information has been gathered concerning micro-organisms. We used a multivariate approach to determine how surface vegetation and environmental conditions interact with structure and composition of microbial communities underneath it. We chose Phospholipid Fatty acids (PLFAs) as indicators of structural diversity. The preliminary results suggest that the structure of microbial communities is very heterogeneous under all types of vegetation communities, but that restoration seems to allow the recovery of a seasonal shift in the community composition.