Article

Biogeochemistry

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 1-15

Beaver population fluctuations and tropospheric methane emissions in boreal wetlands

  • Robert J. NaimanAffiliated withCenter for Streamside Studies, AR-10, University of Washington
  • , Thomas ManningAffiliated withCenter for Water and the Environment, University of Minnesota
  • , Carol A. JohnstonAffiliated withCenter for Water and the Environment, University of Minnesota

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Abstract

Measurements of net methane flux were made during the 1988 ice-free season (May–October) at a beaver-meadow complex in northern Minnesota, USA. The site included upland boreal forest, sedge meadow, submerged aquatic plants, and the open water of a beaver pond. Annual fluxes were 8–11 g C/m2 in the permanently wetted zones and 0.2–0.4 g C/m2 at the occasionally inundated meadow and forest sites. These data, when coupled with long-term (46 yr) data on beaver (Castor canadensis) population size and habitat alteration, suggest that about 1% of the recent rise in atmospheric methane may be attributable to pond creation by beaver in North America.

Key words

methane troposphere beaver boreal forest