Fluxes of nitrous oxide from boreal peatlands as affected by peatland type, water table level and nitrification capacity
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Peat soils with high nitrogen content are potential sources of nitrous oxide (N2O). Fluxes of nitrous oxide were measuredin situ on nine virgin and ten drained peatlands of different hydrology and nutrient status. Numbers of nitrifying bacteria were estimated in different layers of the peat profiles with a most-probable-number technique. Nitrification potentials were determined in soil slurries of pH 4 and 6 from the profiles of six peat soils. Many virgin peatlands showed low N2O uptake. Lowering of the water table generally increased the average fluxes of N2O from the soils, although more in minerotrophic (nutrient rich) than in ombrotrophic (nutrient poor) sites. Ammonium oxidizing bacteria were found on only two sites but nitrite oxidizers were detected in almost all peat profiles. More nitrite oxidizers were found in drained than in virgin peat profiles. Nitrification was enhanced after lowering of the water table in minerotrophic peat but not in ombrotrophic peat. The N2O fluxes correlated positively with the numbers of nitrite oxidizers, nitrification potential, N, P and Ca content and pH of the soil and negatively with the level of water table (expressed as negative values) and K content of the soil.
Key wordsnitrifiers nitrification potential nitrous oxide peatland water table
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