Research has been organised into 10 Work Packages: WP1 for overall project management (co-ordinating all other WPs and providing them a communication platform, as well as results dissemination) and 9 base WPs, which are related to each other as explained in Figure 1.
Meteorology and hydrology (WP 2) make a master element over most remaining packages, whereas all packages are bound together by the concept of mire resilience and its assessment by means of functional diversity indices (inner green circle, WP8). Because climate affects peatlands mainly through hydrological changes, a substantial part of research will be devoted to these topics. Linkages between predicted climate change scenarios and local hydrological conditions (depending on hydrological mire type) will be analysed in WP2, which will also be responsible for collecting detailed meteorological and hydrological data needed for local ecosystem models developed for the Biebrza fens in WP10. A separate task in WP2 is to analyse and model the impact of frost heaving on mire microtopography and acidification.
Within WP3, we will provide reference data on vegetation shifts in reference to climate changes during the Holocene, based on a meta-analysis of palaeoecological studies from Northern and Central Europe.
In WPs 4 – 7 more contemporary vegetation shifts will be analysed in relation to several factors affecting the mire functioning. In WPs 3 - 7 shifts in fen vegetation will be translated to fen functional diversity in cooperation with WP8. (WP8 will serve as functional diversity analysis “node”, having also the tasks to reveal functional determinants of resilience and assess its relative values for all studied systems.)
In WP4 we will analyse changes in nutrient balance connected with changes in productivity.
In WP5, we will use functional diversity approach to re-examine vegetation data from long-term permanent plots on Norwegian fen sites (Sølendet and Tågdalen), where vegetation releves have been repeated several times since the 1970s, accompanied by meteorological and hydrological monitoring and annual population studies and biomass measurements.
WP6 addresses short term changes in fen FD due to rewetting and other restoration measures,using our own data and data derived from a meta-analysis of restoration projects. Apart of the selection of the most successful (in terms of resilience) restoration measures, this WP will contribute knowledge on short-term responses of drained mires to the rise ofgroundwater level, that will be used in the final integrated ecosystem model.
In WP 7 we will analyse the impact of mowing (including machinery mowing), shrub removal and hunting (through the potential pressure on moose population) on mire functional diversity.
This research will continue earlier studies initiated in the Biebrza Valley and should allow for concluding them. All gathered data will be used by WP9 to elaborate an integrated model of the impact of potential climate change scenarios on fen resilience. Finally, the ecosystem models of WP9 will be applied in WP10 to the case area of the Biebrza Valley, with aim to propose adaptation and compensation measures enhancing resilience and responding to predicted changes in mire biodiversity.