Effects of N and P fertilization on the greenhouse gas exchange in two northern peatlands with contrasting N deposition rates
Abstract. Peatlands are important ecosystems in the context of biospheric feedback to climate change, due to the large storage of organic C in peatland soils. Nitrogen deposition and increased nutrient availability in soils following climate warming may cause changes in these ecosystems affecting greenhouse gas exchange. We have conducted an N and P fertilization experiment in two Swedish bogs subjected to high and low background N deposition, and measured the exchange of CO2, CH4 and N2O using the closed chamber technique. During the second year of fertilization, both gross primary production and ecosystem respiration were significantly increased by N addition in the northernmost site where background N deposition is low, while gross primary production was stimulated by P addition in the southern high N deposition site. In addition, a short-term response in respiration was seen following fertilization in both sites, probably associated with rapid growth of nutrient-limited soil microorganisms. No treatment effect was seen on the CH4 exchange, while N2O emission peaks were detected in N fertilized plots indicating the importance of taking N2O into consideration under increased N availability. In a longer term, increased nutrient availability will cause changes in plant composition, which will further act to regulate the peatland greenhouse gas exchange.