10 Oct 2023
 | 10 Oct 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Reviews and Syntheses: Evaluating the Potential Application of Ecohydrological Models for Northern Peatland Restoration: A Scoping Review

Mariana P. Silva, Mark G. Healy, and Laurence Gill

Abstract. Peatland restoration and rehabilitation action has become more widely acknowledged as a necessary response to mitigating climate change risks and improving global carbon storage. Peatland ecosystems require restoration timespans on the order of decades and thus cannot be dependent upon the shorter-term monitoring often carried out in research projects. Hydrological assessments using geospatial tools provide the basis for planning restoration works as well as analysing associated environmental influences. “Restoration” encompasses applications to pre- and post-restoration scenarios for both bogs and fens, across a range of environmental impact fields. The aim of this scoping review is to identify, describe, and categorise current process-based modelling uses in peatlands in order to investigate the applicability and appropriateness of eco- and/or hydrological models for northern peatland restoration. Two literature searches were conducted using the Web of Science entire database in September 2022 and August 2023. Of the final 211 papers included in the review, models and their applications were categorised according to this review’s research interests in 7 distinct categories aggregating the papers’ research themes and model outputs. Restoration site context was added by identifying 234 unique study site locations from the full database which were catalogued and analysed against raster data for the Köppen-Geiger climate classification scheme. A majority of northern peatland sites were in temperate oceanic zones or humid continental zones experiencing snow. Over one in five models from the full database of papers was unnamed and likely single-use. The top three most-used of these models, based on the frequency of their use on distinct site locations, were LPJ, ecosys, and DigiBog, in that order. Key themes emerging from topics covered by papers in the database included: modelling restoration development from a bog growth perspective; the prioritisation of modelling GHG emissions dynamics as a part of policymaking; the importance of spatial connectivity within or alongside process-based models to represent heterogeneous systems; and the emerging prevalence of remote sensing and machine learning techniques to predict restoration progress with little physical site intervention. This review provides valuable context for the application of ecohydrological models in determining strategies for peatland restoration and evaluating post-intervention development over time.

Mariana P. Silva et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on bg-2023-167', Anonymous Referee #1, 28 Oct 2023
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Mariana Silva, 07 Dec 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on bg-2023-167', Anonymous Referee #2, 19 Nov 2023
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Mariana Silva, 07 Dec 2023

Mariana P. Silva et al.

Mariana P. Silva et al.


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Short summary
Peatland restoration helps to combat climate change and protect ecosystem health in many northern regions. This review gathers data about models used on northern peatlands to further envision their application in the specific scenario of restoration. 211 papers were included in the review: location trends for peatland modelling were catalogued and key themes in model outputs were highlighted. This review provides valuable context for future efforts in modelling the peatland restoration process.