Plant and Soil

, Volume 326, Issue 1, pp 147–158

Plant species from mesotrophic wetlands cause relatively high methane emissions from peat soil


    • Institute of Integrative Biology, Plant EcologyETH Zurich
  • Lena Ström
    • Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystems Analysis, GeoBiosphere Science CentreLund University
  • Peter J. Edwards
    • Institute of Integrative Biology, Plant EcologyETH Zurich
  • Harry Olde Venterink
    • Institute of Integrative Biology, Plant EcologyETH Zurich
Regular Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11104-009-9989-x

Cite this article as:
Koelbener, A., Ström, L., Edwards, P.J. et al. Plant Soil (2010) 326: 147. doi:10.1007/s11104-009-9989-x


Plants can influence methane emissions from wetland ecosystems by altering its production, consumption and transport in the soil. The aim of this study was to investigate how eight vascular plant species from mesotrophic to eutrophic wetlands vary in their influence on CH4 emissions from peat cores, under low and high N supply. Additionally, we measured the production of low-molecular-weight organic acids (LOA) by the same species (also at low and high N supply), because LOA form a substrate for methanogenesis. There were considerable differences among species in their effects upon rates of CH4 emission. Six of the species (Eriophorum latifolium Hoppe, Potentilla palustris (L.) Scop., Anthoxanthum odoratum (L.) s. str., Carex rostrata Stokes, Carex elata All., Carex acutiformis Ehrh.) increased CH4 emissions up to five times compared to control peat cores without plants, whereas two species (Phalaris arundinacea L., Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. ex Steud.) had no effect. There was a weak negative correlation between plant biomass and CH4 emission. N addition had no significant general effect upon CH4 emission. LOA production varied considerably among species, and tended to be highest for species from mesotrophic habitats. LOA production was stimulated by N addition. We conclude that some species from mesotrophic wetlands tend to cause higher CH4 emissions than species from eutrophic wetlands. This pattern, which contradicts what is often mentioned in literature, may be explained by the higher LOA production rates of species adapted to less productive habitats.


AdaptationBiomassEcological traitsGreenhouse gasNitrogenOrganic acidsPeatRoot exudationVascular plants

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009