Launch of Study to Assess Greenhouse Gas Emissions from High Altitude Peatlands


Field sampling in Nepal from 8 to 11 June kicked off a study on ’Assessment of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emission from the High Altitude Peatland Ecosystems of the Hindu Kush Himalayan Region’. A research team comprised of Dr Zhu Dan and Nabin Bhattarai from ICIMOD and two local assistants from Sauraha, Nepal conducted field training and sampling in Bishazari Lake, which is located in the buffer zone of Chitwan National Park, to help assess the GHG emissions of peatlands in both spatial and temporal scales and to study the key biotic/abiotic factors impacting GHG emission from peatlands. This project, supported by ICIMOD’s Innovation Fund, is the first to assess GHG emissions from wetlands in Nepal. 

The static chamber method was introduced into this project as the technique for field gas sampling. Bishazari Lake, a Ramsar site, was chosen to initiate this research with 18 plots being set up in the littoral zone of the lake. Prior to the sampling campaign, team members and local partners were given a training regarding the purpose of the project and the principles and technology for sampling by Dr Dan Zhu, Ecosystem Analyst at ICIMOD supported jointly by the Chinese Academy of Sciences-ICIMOD Young Scholar Programme. In order to develop a better understanding of the diurnal variations of GHG emissions, the project will include four diurnal monitoring sessions in June, July, December, and next February, of which the one in June has already been completed. Furthermore, to assess the seasonal variation of GHG emissions, there will be one sampling campaign every 10 days throughout the monsoon season and one every 15 days in the coming dry and summer season ending next April. 

Dhaap Lake (2089 masl), which is located in the headwaters of the Nagmati River near Chisapani in Shivapuri-Nagarjun National Park, has been selected as the core site for this project after one field survey led by Prof. Wu Ning of ICIMOD in April of this year. Dhaap Lake is a water reservoir that plays a key role in recharging the water table, but the lake area has decreased due to siltation and sedimentation. The ICIMOD research on GHG emissions from the lake will help inform the environmental assessment for the Bagmati River Basin Improvement Project, a mega project related to this issue which is supported by the Asian Development Bank and approved by the Ministry of Nepal.