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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  23 Oct 2020

23 Oct 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Carbon dioxide and methane exchange of a patterned subarctic fen during two contrasting growing seasons

Lauri Heiskanen1, Juha-Pekka Tuovinen1, Aleksi Räsänen2, Tarmo Virtanen2, Sari Juutinen2, Annalea Lohila1, Timo Penttilä3, Maiju Linkosalmi1, Juha Mikola2, Tuomas Laurila1, and Mika Aurela1 Lauri Heiskanen et al.
  • 1Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, Finland
  • 2Ecosystems and Environment Research Programme, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland
  • 3Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE), Helsinki, Finland

Abstract. The patterned microtopography of subarctic mires generates a variety of environmental conditions, and carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) dynamics vary spatially among different plant community types. We studied the CO2 and CH4 exchange between a subarctic fen and the atmosphere at Kaamanen in northern Finland based on flux chamber and eddy covariance measurements in 2017–2018. We observed strong spatial variation in carbon dynamics between the four main plant community types (PCTs) studied, which were largely controlled by water table level and differences in vegetation composition. The ecosystem respiration (ER) and gross primary productivity (GPP) increased gradually from the wettest PCT to the drier ones, and both ER and GPP were larger for all PCTs during the warmer and drier growing season 2018. We estimated that in 2017 the growing season CO2 balances of the PCTs ranged from −20 g C m−2 (Trichophorum tussock PCT) to 64 g C m−2 (string margin PCT), while in 2018 all PCTs were small CO2 sources (10–22 g C m−2). We observed small growing season CH4 emission sums (< 1 g C m−2) from the driest PCT, while the other three PCTs had significantly larger emissions sums (mean 7.9, range 5.6–10.1 g C m−2) during the two growing seasons. Compared to the annual CO2 balance (−8.5±4.0 g C m−2) of the fen in 2017, in 2018 the annual balance (−5.6±3.7 g C m−2) was affected by an earlier onset of photosynthesis in spring, which increased the CO2 sink, and a drought event during summer, which decreased the sink. The CH4 emissions were also affected by the drought. The annual CH4 balance of the fen was 7.3±0.2 g C m−2 in 2017 and 6.2±0.1 g C m−2 in 2018. Thus, the carbon balance of the fen was close to zero in both years. The PCTs adapted to drier conditions provided resilience to carbon loss due to water level draw down.

Lauri Heiskanen et al.

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Lauri Heiskanen et al.

Lauri Heiskanen et al.


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Short summary
We studied ecosystem and plant community level carbon (C) exchange between subarctic mire and the atmosphere during 2017–2018. We found strong spatial variation in CO2 and CH4 dynamics between the main plant communities. The earlier onset of growing season in 2018 strengthened the CO2 sink of the ecosystem, but this gain was counterbalanced by a later drought period. Variation in water table level, soil temperature and vegetation explained most of the variation in the ecosystem level C exchange.
We studied ecosystem and plant community level carbon (C) exchange between subarctic mire and...