Articles | Volume 11, issue 21
Research article
12 Nov 2014
Research article |  | 12 Nov 2014

Short-term effects of thinning, clear-cutting and stump harvesting on methane exchange in a boreal forest

E. Sundqvist, P. Vestin, P. Crill, T. Persson, and A. Lindroth

Abstract. Forest management practices can alter soil conditions, affecting the consumption and production processes that control soil methane (CH4) exchange. We studied the short-term effects of thinning, clear-cutting and stump harvesting on the CH4 exchange between soil and atmosphere at a boreal forest site in central Sweden, using an undisturbed plot as the control. Chambers in combination with a high-precision laser gas analyser were used for continuous measurements. Both the undisturbed plot and the thinned plot were net sinks of CH4, whereas the clear-cut plot and the stump harvested plot were net CH4 sources. The CH4 uptake at the thinned plot was reduced in comparison to the undisturbed plot. The shift from sink to source at the clear-cut and stump harvested plots was probably due to a rise in the water table and an increase in soil moisture, leading to lower gas diffusivity and more reduced conditions, which favour CH4 production by archea. Reduced evapotranspiration after harvesting leads to wetter soils, decreased CH4 consumption and increased CH4 production, and should be accounted for in the CH4 budget of managed forests.

Final-revised paper