SNO Tourbières observatory

SNO Tourbières observatory

Scientific context

The SNO Tourbières observatory is a network of 4 instrumented peatlands located along an topographic gradient (100 to 1400 m) and anthropization: La Guette and Landemarais in the plain and oceanic climate, Frasne at medium altitude in Jura and Bernadouze in the Pyrenean chain. Peatlands are wetlands characterized by a particulate moss, the sphagnum moss. It appreciates high rainfall, often low temperatures, acidic and nutrient-poor water. Sphagnum mosses are ingenious species. By their morphological and chemical characteristics, they are able to promote these favorable conditions for their own development. These conditions limit biological decomposition activity so effectively that organic matter accumulates and forms peat. These original and critical ecosystems are home to a unique biodiversity and play a crucial role in the carbon cycle. Despite a cover of 3 % of the land surface, peatlands contain about 30 % of the world’s soil carbon stock.


Starting year: 2008 at la Guette and Frasne, 2012 at Bernadouze, 2014 at Landemarais

Localisations: Brittany, Drugeon valley, Vicdessos valley, Sologne

Keywords: wetlands, carbon footprint, climate change, greenhouse gases


Web site:

PIs: Sébastien Gogo

La Guette: Sébastien Gogo

Frasne: Guillaume Bertrand

Bernadouze: Laure Gandois

Station de mesure eddy covariance à la tourbière de Frasne pour le suivi sur le long terme des flux de gaz à effet de serre.
eddy covariance station at the Frasne peat bog for the long-term monitoring of greenhouse gas fluxes. © Adrien Jacotot

Scientific questions

The scientific questions of the SNO Tourbières are:

  • What is the current carbon and hydrological balance of peatlands?
  • What is the response of peatlands to climate change in terms of both processes and greenhouse gas fluxes?

By using space as a substitute for time, the peatlands of the network provide strong constraints to feed global climate change models. One of the four sites, La Guette, has been accredited since 2019 as an associated site in the European research infrastructure for observing greenhouse gas flows: ICOS-Ecosystem (Integrated Carbon Observation System).

Sites and measured variables

The sites of the SNO Tourbières are the following: la Guette peatland in Sologne (145 m, 26 ha, 11 °C average annual temperature, 880 mm/year rainfall, Sologne sands), the Landemarais peatland north of Fougères (154 m, 23 ha, 11 °C, 870, Cadomian granites) the peatland of Frasne near Pontarlier (830 m, 98 ha, 7,5 °C, 1400 mm/year rainfall, Jurassic limestones and moraines), the peatland of Bernadouze in Ariège (1400 m, 3,8 ha, 6 °C, 1700 mm/year rainfall, Hercynian granites and moraines).

The SNO Tourbières instruments (ground meteorological stations, closed chambers and eddy covariance station, piezometers, multiparameter hydrological station) collect common measurements for the 4 sites, at different frequencies, from several times per second to once every 30 minutes, making it possible to quantify evapotranspiration and heat fluxes (sensible and latent), organic carbon concentrations at the outlet, hydrological variables (flow rates, piezometric levels, meteorological data) and environmental data allowing the establishment ofecosystem-scale  carbon and hydrological balances. Greenhouse measurements were implemented according to the recommendations of the ICOS RI (Integrated Carbon Observation System).

The SNO Tourbières also hosts in situ experimental devices for simulating climatic and anthropogenic forcing. The SNO Tourbières sites also host national and European ecological restoration projects (regional projects, LIFE and INTERREG programs).

Partners and further information

SNO Tourbières is an observation service labelled by the INSU-CNRS. It is led by  the Observatoire des Sciences de l’Univers en région Centre – Val de Loire (OSUC) and the Institut des Sciences de la Terre d’Orléans (ISTO) in collaboration with the Observatoire des Sciences de l’Univers Terre-Homme environnement-temps-astronomie (OSU THETA), the Laboratoire Chrono-Environnement (Besançon), the Observatoire des Sciences de l’Univers de Rennes (OSUR), l’unité ECOBIO (Rennes), the Observatoire Homme-Milieu Pyrénées (OHM Haut-Vicdessos), the Laboratoire GÉODE and the Laboratoire ECOLAB (Toulouse). All the sites are integrated in a Zone Atelier (ZA) of the INEE (IR Réseau des Zones Ateliers): Frasne in ZA Arc Jurassien, Landemarais in ZA Armorique, la Guette ZA Loire and Bernadouze in ZA PyGar.