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Discussion papers | Copyright
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
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Research article 01 Nov 2017

Research article | 01 Nov 2017

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

Hydrological control of dissolved organic carbon dynamics in a rehabilitated Sphagnum–dominated peatland: a water-table based modelling approach

Léonard Bernard-Jannin1,2,3, Stéphane Binet1,2,3,4, Sébastien Gogo1,2,3, Fabien Leroy1,2,3, Christian Défarge1,2,3,5, Nevila Jozja5, Renata Zocatelli5, Laurent Perdereau1,2,3, and Fatima Laggoun-Défarge1,2,3 Léonard Bernard-Jannin et al.
  • 1Université d’Orléans, ISTO, UMR 7327, 45071, Orléans, France
  • 2CNRS, ISTO, UMR 7327, 45071, Orléans, France
  • 3BRGM, ISTO, UMR 7327, 45071, Orléans, France
  • 4ECOLAB, Université de Toulouse, CNRS, UPS, INPT – UMR 5245, Toulouse, France
  • 5CETRAHE, Université d’Orléans, 45072, Orléans, France

Abstract. Hydrological disturbances could increase dissolved organic carbon (DOC) exports through runoff and leaching, reducing the potential carbon sink function of peatlands. The objective of this study was to assess the impact of hydrological restoration on hydrological processes and DOC dynamics in a rehabilitated Sphagnum–dominated peatland. A conceptual hydrological model calibrated on the water table and coupled with a biogeochemical module was applied to La Guette peatland (France), which experienced a rewetting action on February 2014. The model (ten calibrated parameters) reproduced water table and pore water DOC concentration time series (01/04/2014 to 15/07/2017) in two contrasted locations (rewetted and control) of the peatland. Hydrological restoration was found to impact the water balance through a decrease in slow deep drainage and an increase in fast superficial runoff. Observed DOC concentrations were higher in summer in the rewetted location compared to the control and were linked with a difference in dissolved organic matter composition analyzed by fluorescence. Hydrological conditions, especially the severity of the water table drawdown, were identified as the major factors controlling DOC concentration dynamics. The results of the simulation suggest that the hydrological restoration did not affect DOC loads, at least on a short-term period (3 years). However, it impacted the temporal dynamics of DOC exports, which were the most episodic and mainly transported through fast surface runoff in the area affected by the restoration while slow deep drainage dominated DOC exports in the control area. In relation with dominant hydrological processes, exported DOC is expected to be derived from more recent organic matter of the top peat layer in the rewetted area than in the control area. Since it is calibrated on water table and DOC concentration, the model presented in this study proved to be a relevant tool to identify the main hydrological processes and factors controlling DOC dynamics in different areas of the same peatland. It is also a suitable alternative to a discharge calibrated catchment model when the outlet is not easily identifiable.

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