Worldwide, drained peat covers only 0.3% of the land area but net decomposition of the organic matter under aerobic conditions contributes 6% to anthropogenic CO2 emissions.
With current climate change, governments globally are therefore urged to reduce CO2 emission in those areas. For drained peat grasslands in the Netherlands, society requires
from farmers and other land owners not only that peat decomposition is reduced, but also that key elements of biodiversity such as meadow birds are protected and supported, that soils can buffer extreme weather events such as droughts and floods, and that nutrient losses are minimized. Thus, agriculture is no longer required to deliver provisioning
services (food production) only, but increasingly also supporting and regulating ecosystem services. This mix of demands calls for an integral approach when evaluating possible
The overall aim of this thesis is to get insight in soil quality of peat grasslands in relation to the ecosystem services support of biodiversity, climate regulation, water regulation and
grass production, and to evaluate the effects of land use and land management from this integral perspective. To this end, Deru carried out soil and vegetation measurements in
experiments in dairy and semi-natural grasslands across the western peat region of the Netherlands.