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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2019-350
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2019-350
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 01 Oct 2019

Submitted as: research article | 01 Oct 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Biogeosciences (BG).

Interacting effects of vegetation components and water table on methane dynamics in a boreal fen

Terhi Riutta1,2,a, Aino Korrensalo3, Anna M. Laine3, Jukka Laine1, and Eeva-Stiina Tuittila1,3 Terhi Riutta et al.
  • 1University of Helsinki, Department of Forest Ecology, Helsinki, Finland
  • 2Imperial College London, Department of Life Sciences, Ascot, UK
  • 3School of Forest Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, Finland
  • acurrent address: University of Oxford, School of Geography and the Environment, Oxford, UK

Abstract. Vegetation and hydrology are important controlling factors in peatland methane dynamics. This study aimed at investigating the role of vegetation components – sedges, dwarf-shrubs, and Sphagnum mosses – in methane fluxes of a boreal fen under natural and experimental water level drawdown conditions. We measured the fluxes during four growing seasons using static chamber technique in a field experiment where the role of the ecosystem components was assessed via plant removal treatments. The first year was a calibration year after which the water level drawdown and vegetation removal treatments were applied. Under natural water level conditions, plant-mediated fluxes comprised 68–78 % of the mean growing season flux (1.95 ± 0.21 g CH4 m−2 month−1 from June to September), of which Sphagnum mosses and sedges accounted for 1/4 and 3/4, respectively. The presence of dwarf shrubs, on the other hand, had a slightly attenuating effect on the fluxes. In water level drawdown conditions, the mean flux was close to zero (0.03 ± 0.03 g CH4 m−2 month−1) and the presence/absence of the plant groups had a negligible effect. In conclusion, water level acted as a switch; only in high water level conditions vegetation regulated the net fluxes. The results are relevant for assessing the response of peatland fluxes in changing climatic conditions, as water level drawdown and the consequent vegetation succession are the major projected impacts of climate change on northern peatlands.

Terhi Riutta et al.
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Status: final response (author comments only)
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Terhi Riutta et al.
Terhi Riutta et al.
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Short summary
We studied the role of plant species groups in peatland methane fluxes under natural conditions and lowered water level. In natural water level, sedges and mosses increased the fluxes. In lower water level, the impact of plant groups on the fluxes was small. Water level acted as a switch; only in high water level vegetation regulated the fluxes. The results are relevant for assessing peatland methane fluxes in changing climate, as peatland water level and vegetation are predicted to change.
We studied the role of plant species groups in peatland methane fluxes under natural conditions...
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