Drained Wetlands in Sweden Give Off Same Amount of Greenhouse Gas as Industry

First Posted: Nov 26, 2012 04:16 AM EST

A joint study states that drained wetlands contribute the same amount of greenhouse gas emission as the Swedish industry.

This study was conducted by researchers from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

Forest and Fields over wetlands in Sweden cover nearly 5-10 percent of its area and are a significant source of greenhouse emissions when they are drained.

"We note that drained wetlands which have been forested or used for agricultural purposes are a significant potential source of greenhouse gases of a magnitude that is at least comparable with the industrial sector's greenhouse gas emissions in Sweden."

The researchers say that the emission can be reduced by rewetting the land. But this would produce a negative effect on the forestry production.

"As long as wetlands remain wet, only methane is given off," says Åsa Kasimir Klemedtsson from the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Gothenburg. "However, for more than a hundred years land has been drained for agriculture and forestry, producing large quantities of both carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide."

Together with researcher Orjan Berglund from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Dr Kasimir Klemedtsson was commissioned by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency during the summer and autumn of 2012 to compile information about greenhouse gases from drained wetlands.

Last year, certain new rules were added at the Durban Climate Change Conference with the second Kyoto Protocol phase.  The rules spoke of the possibility of reporting wetland drainage or rewetting of drained wetlands. Sweden needs to decide  whether to include these ahead of the second Kyoto Protocol phase.

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