, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 119–135

Exchange of N2O and CH4 between the atmosphere and soils in spruce-fir forests in the northeastern United States

  • Mark S. Castro
  • Paul A. Steudler
  • Jerry M. Melillo
  • John D. Aber
  • Sarah Millham


We measured the exchange of N2O and CH4 between the atmosphere and soils in 5 spruce-fir stands located along a transect from New York to Maine. Nitrous oxide emissions averaged over the 1990 growing season (May–September) ranged from 2.1 ug N2O-N/m2-hr in New York to 0.4 ug N2O-N/m2-hr in Maine. The westernmost sites, Whiteface Mtn., New York and Mt. Mansfield, Vermont, had the highest nitrogen-deposition, net nitrification and N2O emissions. Soils at all sites were net sinks for atmospheric CH4 Methane uptake averaged over the 1990 growing season ranged from 0.02 mg CH4-C/M2-hr in Maine to 0.05 mg CH4-C/m2-hr in Vermont. Regional differences in CH4 uptake could not be explained by differences in nitrogen-deposition, soil nitrogen dynamics, soil moisture or soil temperature. We estimate that soils in spruce-fir forests at our study sites released ca. 0.02 to 0.08 kg N2O-N/ha and consumed ca. 0.74 to 1.85 kg CH4 C/ha in the 1990 growing season.

Key words

N2CH4 red spruce balsam fir spruce-fir forests nitrogen deposition nitrification mineralization denitrification 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark S. Castro
    • 1
  • Paul A. Steudler
    • 1
  • Jerry M. Melillo
    • 1
  • John D. Aber
    • 2
  • Sarah Millham
    • 3
  1. 1.The Ecosystems CenterMarine Biological LaboratoryWoods HoleUSA
  2. 2.Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and SpaceUniversity of New HampshireDurhamUSA
  3. 3.Goddard Space Flight CenterGreenbeltUSA

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