Controls of spatial and temporal variability in CH4 flux in a high arctic fen over three years

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The aim of this study was to establish the main drivers of the spatial variability in growing season CH4 flux within an arctic wetland ecosystem. During 3 years (2011-2013) we measured CH4 flux and potential drivers, e.g., CO2 fluxes (net ecosystem exchange (NEE), gross primary productivity (GPP) and ecosystem respiration), temperature, water table depth, pore-water concentration of organic acids (e.g., acetate) and the vascular plant composition and density. The study included 16-20 main plots (C-main) and in 2013 also experimental plots (10 excluded muskoxen grazing, 9 snow fence and 10 automated chamber plots) distributed over 0.3 km(2). The results show a 1.8-times difference in CH4 flux magnitude inter-annually and 9- to 35-times spatially (depending on year and treatment). During all 3 years GPP was a strong driver of the variability in C-main plots. Accordingly, the plant productivity related variables NEE, GPP and acetate were singled out as the strongest drivers of the variability in 2013, when all variables were measured on a majority of the plots. These variables were equally strong drivers of the spatial variability in CH4 flux regardless of whether experimental plots were included in the analysis or not. The density of Eriophorum scheuchzeri was the strongest driver of the spatial variability in NEE, GPP and acetate. In conclusion, changes in vegetation composition or productivity of wet arctic ecosystems will have large impacts on their carbon balance and CH4 flux, irrespective of whether these changes are driven directly by climate change or by biotic interactions, such as grazing.

Details

Authors
Organisations
External organisations
  • Aarhus University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Physical Geography

Keywords

  • Arctic wetlands, CH4 flux, Eriophorum, Spatial variability, Substrate, availability
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-35
JournalBiogeochemistry
Volume125
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes