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ARS Home » Northeast Area » University Park, Pennsylvania » Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #353801

Research Project: Sustaining Agroecosystems and Water Resources in the Northeastern U.S.

Location: Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research

Title: A geospatial model to quantify mean thickness of peat in cranberry bogs

item Kennedy, Casey
item Wilderotter, Sophie
item Payne, Peggy - Former ARS Employee
item Buda, Anthony
item Kleinman, Peter
item Bryant, Ray

Submitted to: Geoderma
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/28/2017
Publication Date: 6/1/2018
Citation: Kennedy, C.D., Wilderotter, S.M., Payne, P.M., Buda, A.R., Kleinman, P.J., Bryant, R.B. 2018. A geospatial model to quantify mean thickness of peat in cranberry bogs. Geoderma. 319:122-131.

Interpretive Summary: Commercial cranberry is cultivated on peatlands, yet very little information on the physical soil properties of cranberry bogs exits. A model of peat thickness was developed and applied to 505 cranberry bogs in Massachusetts. Based on modeled estimates of peat thickness, we estimate that peat contains ~90% (by mass) of carbon and nitrogen stored in cranberry bogs. Variation of carbon and nitrogen storage in cranberry bogs is highly sensitive to mean peat thickness.

Technical Abstract: Commercial cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait.) is cultivated on peatlands, which consist of sedimentary deposits of peat capped by a 0.3-1 m of artificial sand. Despite distinct soil layering, a general paucity of information exists on the physical properties of cranberry bogs. Field measurements and ground penetrating radar (GPR) were used to determine sand and peat thicknesses of 30 cranberry bogs in Massachusetts. GPR-based estimates of peat volume and detailed soil maps were used to develop a geospatial model of peat thickness in cranberry bogs. The model was applied to 505 cranberry bogs. Mean thicknesses of sand and peat were 0.5 and 0.9 m, respectively. Mean peat thickness ranged considerably, with deep peat (>1.8 m) identified in 25% of the cranberry bogs. Peat was absent in 26% of cranberry bogs, which may reflect upland or glaciolacustrine soils. Based on available soil nutrient data and these physical soil properties, an average cranberry bog stores 640 Mg ha-1 of carbon, 29000 kg ha-1 of nitrogen, and 740 kg ha-1 of phosphorus. We estimate that peat contains 91% and 90% (by mass) of carbon and nitrogen stored in cranberry bogs, respectively. In contrast, peat represents only 15% (by mass) of P in cranberry bogs.