Articles | Volume 10, issue 2
Research article
14 Feb 2013
Research article |  | 14 Feb 2013

Soil CO2 CH4 and N2O fluxes from an afforested lowland raised peatbog in Scotland: implications for drainage and restoration

S. Yamulki, R. Anderson, A. Peace, and J. I. L. Morison

Abstract. The effect of tree (lodgepole pine) planting with and without intensive drainage on soil greenhouse gas (GHG) fluxes was assessed after 45 yr at a raised peatbog in West Flanders Moss, central Scotland. Fluxes of CO2 CH4 and N2O from the soil were monitored over a 2-yr period every 2 to 4 weeks using the static opaque chamber method in a randomised experimental block trial with the following treatments: drained and planted (DP), undrained and planted (uDP), undrained and unplanted (uDuP) and for reference also from an adjoining near-pristine area of bog at East Flanders Moss (n-pris). There was a strong seasonal pattern in both CO2 and CH4 effluxes which were significantly higher in late spring and summer months because of warmer temperatures. Effluxes of N2O were low and no significant differences were observed between the treatments. Annual CH4 emissions increased with the proximity of the water table to the soil surface across treatments in the order: DP < uDP < uDuP < n-pris with mean annual effluxes over the 2-yr monitoring period of 0.15, 0.64, 7.70 and 22.63 g CH4 m−2 yr−1, respectively. For CO2, effluxes increased in the order uDP < DP< n-pris < uDuP, with mean annual effluxes of 1.23, 1.66, 1.82 and 2.55 kg CO2 m−2 yr−1, respectively. CO2 effluxes dominated the total net GHG emission, calculated using the global warming potential (GWP) of the three GHGs for each treatment (76–98%), and only in the n-pris site was CH4 a substantial contribution (23%). Based on soil effluxes only, the near pristine (n-pris) peatbog had 43% higher total net GHG emission compared with the DP treatment because of high CH4 effluxes and the DP treatment had 33% higher total net emission compared with the uDP because drainage increased CO2 effluxes. Restoration is likely to increase CH4 emissions, but reduce CO2 effluxes. Our study suggests that if estimates of CO2 uptake by vegetation from similar peatbog sites were included, the total net GHG emission of restored peatbog would still be higher than that of the peatbog with trees.

Final-revised paper