12 months of greenhouse gas and vegetation data collection completed!
With the easing of some COVID-19 restrictions, the Blue Carbon Lab was given the green light to recommence fieldwork under strict social distancing guidelines. Our #VicWetlnandRehab team headed to Western Port in May 2020 to finish the autumn survey of the 10-hectare saltmarsh restoration site. The team had commenced surveys almost 12 months ago in June 2019.
To complete the last seasonal survey our team measured greenhouse gas fluxes and undertook vegetation surveys at 32 plots in 4 different treatment areas including 12-year restored saltmarsh, 2-year restored saltmarsh, a rehabilitation site (now fenced!), and pasture grazed on by cattle.
The team installed green and rooibos tea bags at each of the plots and will go back to retrieve them at several time points (1, 3, 6, and 12 months) in order to determine the rates of carbon decomposition in each of the treatment areas.
Feldspar was also installed on each plot to measure sediment accumulation. Feldspar is a non-toxic white clay-like powder that is sprinkled over an area of sediment and used as a soil marker horizon. In 12 months our team will return to collect a small soil core from the area where the feldspar was installed. Using a marker horizon will allow us to quantify how much sediment has accumulated above the white feldspar over the past 12 months.
We now have greenhouse gas flux and vegetation data across the sites for the past 12 months so a big data processing exercise is currently underway, with a publication expected at the end of 2020.