, Volume 44, Issue 2, pp 163–186 | Cite as

Winter CO2, CH4 and N2O fluxes on some natural and drained boreal peatlands

  • Jukka Alm
  • Sanna Saarnio
  • Hannu Nykänen
  • Jouko Silvola
  • Perttij Martikainen


CO2 and CH4 fluxes during the winter were measured at natural and drained bog and fen sites in eastern Finland using both the closed chamber method and calculations of gas diffusion along a concentration gradient through the snowpack. The snow diffusion results were compared with those obtained by chamber, but the winter flux estimates were derived from chamber data only. CH4 emissions from a poor bog were lower than those from an oligotrophic fen, while both CO2 and CH4 fluxes were higher in theCarex rostrata- occupied marginal (lagg) area of the fen than in the slightly less fertile centre. Average estimated winter CO2-C losses from virgin and drained forested peatlands were 41 and 68 g CO2-C m−2, respectively, accounting for 23 and 21% of the annual total CO2 release from the peat. The mean release of CH4-C was 1.0 g in natural bogs and 3.4 g m−2 in fens, giving rise to winter emissions averaging to 22% of the annual emission from the bogs and 10% of that from the fens. These wintertime carbon gas losses in Finnish natural peatlands were even greater than reported average long-term annual C accumulation values (less than 25g C m−2). The narrow range of 10–30% of the proportion of winter CO2 and CH4 emissions from annual emissions found in Finnish peatlands suggest that a wider generalization in the boreal zone is possible. Drained forested bogs emitted 0.3 g CH4-C m−2 on the average, while the effectively drained fens consumed an average of 0.01 g CH4-C m−2. Reason for the low CH4. efflux or net oxidation in drained peatlands probably lies in low substrate supply and thus low CH4 production in the anoxic deep peat layers. N2O release from a fertilized grassland site in November–May was 0.7 g N2O m−2, accounting for 38% of the total annual emission, while a forested bog released none and two efficiently drained forested fens 0.09 (28% of annual release) and 0.04 g N2O m−2 (27%) during the winter, respectively.

Key words

carbon dioxide gas gradients methane nitrous oxide peatland winter 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alm J, Talanov A, Saarnio S, Silvola J, Ikkonen E, Aaltonen H, Nykänen H & Martikainen PJ (1997) Reconstruction of the carbon balance for microsites in a boreal oligotrophic pine fen, Finland. Oecologia 110: 423–431Google Scholar
  2. Alm J, Schulman L, Waiden J, Nykänen H, Martikainen PJ & Silvola J (submitted) Fluxes of CO2, CH4 and the carbon balance of a boreal bog with exceptionally low water table. Ecology, in pressGoogle Scholar
  3. Bubier J & Moore TR (1994) An ecological perspective on methane emissions from northern wetlands. TREE 9: 460–464Google Scholar
  4. Clein JS & Schimel JP (1995) Microbial activity of tundra and taiga soils at sub-zero temperatures. Soil Biol. Biochem. 27(9): 1231–1234Google Scholar
  5. Clymo RS (1984) The limits to peat bog growth. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B 303: 605–654Google Scholar
  6. Coxson DS & Parkinson D (1987) Winter respiratory activity in Aspen woodland forest floor Utter and soils. Soil Biol. Biochem. 19(1): 49–59Google Scholar
  7. Crill PM (1991) Seasonal pattern of methane uptake and carbon dioxide release by temperate woodland soil. Global Biogeochem. Cycles 5(4): 319–334Google Scholar
  8. Crill PM, Bartlett KB & Roulet NT (1992) Methane fluxes from boreal peatlands, Suo 43: 173–182 (1993)Google Scholar
  9. Davidson EA (1993) Soil water content and the ratio of nitrous oxide to nitric oxide emitted from soil. In: Oremland RS (Ed) Biogeochemistry and Global Change, Radiatively Active Trace Gases (pp 369–386). Chapman & Hall, NewYorkGoogle Scholar
  10. Dise NB (1992) Winter fluxes of methane from Minnesota peatlands. Biogeochemistry 17: 71–83Google Scholar
  11. Dise NB, Gorham E & Verry ES (1993) Environmental factors controlling methane emissions from peatlands in northern Minnesota. J. Geophys. Res. 98: 10583–10594Google Scholar
  12. Havas P & Mäenpää E (1972) Evolution of carbon dioxide at the floor of a Hylocomium myrtillus type spruce forest. Aquilo Ser. Bot. 11: 40–22Google Scholar
  13. Hogg EH (1993) Decay potential of hummock and hollow Sphagnum peats at different depths in a Swedish raised bog. Oikos 66: 269–278Google Scholar
  14. IPCC (1994) Radiative forcing of climatye change. The 1994 Report of the Scientific Assessment Working Group of IPCC, summary for policymakers (WMO, UNEP)Google Scholar
  15. IPCC (1995) Climate Change 1995. Impacts, Adaptation and Mitigation of Climate Change: Scientific-Technical Analyses. Contribution of Working Group II to the Second Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  16. Johnson LC & Damman AWH (1991) Species-controlled Spahgnum decay on a South Swedish raised bog. Oikos 61: 234–242Google Scholar
  17. Kettunen A, Kaitala V, Alm J, Silvola J, Nykänen H & Martikainen PJ (1996) Crosscorrelation analysis of the dynamics of methane emissions from a boreal peatland. Global Biogeochem. Cycles 10(3): 457–471Google Scholar
  18. Laine J, Silvola J, Tolonen K, Alm J, Nykänen H, Vasander H, Sallantaus T, Savolainen I, Sinisalo J & Martikainen PJ (1996) Effect of water-level drawdown on global climatic warming: northern peatlands. Ambio 25(3): 179–184Google Scholar
  19. Laine J, Päivänen J, Schneider H & Vasander H (1986) Site types at Lakkasuo mire complex. Field guide, 35 p. Publications from the Department of Peatland Forestry, University of Helsinki 8. Yliopistopaino, Helsinki 1986.Google Scholar
  20. Lång K, Lehtonen M & Martikainen PJ (1994) Nitrification potentials at different pH values in peat samples from various layers of a drained mire. Geomicrobiol. J. 11: 141–147Google Scholar
  21. Martikainen PJ, Nykänen H, Crill P & Silvola J (1993) Effect of a lowered water table on nitrous oxide fluxes from northern peatlands. Nature 366: 51–53Google Scholar
  22. Martikainen PJ, Nykänen H, Alm J & Silvola J (1995) Change in fluxes of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide due to forest drainage of mire sites of different trophy. Plant Soil 168–169: 571–577Google Scholar
  23. Melloh RA & Crill P (1995) Winter methane dynamics beneath ice and in snow in a temperate poor fen. Hydrological Processes 9: 947–956Google Scholar
  24. Melloh RA & Crill P (1996) Winter methane dynamics in a temperate peatland. Global Biogeochem. Cycles 10(2): 247–254Google Scholar
  25. Nykänen H, Alm J, Lång K, Silvola J & Martikainen PJ (1995) Emissions of CH4, N2O and CO2 from a virgin fen and a fen drained for grassland in Finland. J. Biogeography 22: 351–357Google Scholar
  26. Nykänen H, Alm J, Silvola J & Martikainen PJ (1996) Fluxes of methane on boreal mires with different hydrology and fertility in Finland. In: Laiho R, Laine J & Vasander H (Eds) Northern Peatlands in Global Climatic Change. Proceedings of the International Workshop held in Hyytiälä, Finland, 8–12 October 1995 (pp 127–135). Publ. Academy of Finland 1/96, Edita, HelsinkiGoogle Scholar
  27. Nykänen H, Alm J, Silvola J, Tolonen K & Martikainen PJ (1998) Methane fluxes on peatlands with different hydrology and fertility in southern and middle boreal zone in Finland. Global Biogeochem. Cycles 12(1): 53–69Google Scholar
  28. Pajari B (1995) Soil respiration in a poor upland site of Scots pine stand subjected to elevated temperatures and atmospheric carbon concentration. Plant Soil 168–169: 563–570Google Scholar
  29. Regina K, Nykänen H, Silvola J & Martikainen PJ (1996a) Fluxes of nitrous oxide from boreal peatlands as affected by peatland type, water table level and nitrification capacity of the peat. Biogeochemistry 25: 401–418Google Scholar
  30. Regina K, Nykänen H, Silvola J & Martikainen PJ (1996b) Fluxes of nitrous oxide and nitrification on a drained and forested boreal peatland treated with different nitrogen compounds. In: Laiho R, Laine J & Vasander H (Eds) Northern Peatlands in Global Climatic Change. Proceedings of the International Workshop held in Hyytiälä, Finland, 8–12 October 1995 (pp 154–157). Publ. Academy of Finland 1/96, Edita, HelsinkiGoogle Scholar
  31. Roulet NT, Ash R & Moore TR (1992) Low boreal wetlands as a source of atmospheric methane. J. Geophys. Res. 97: 3739–3749Google Scholar
  32. Ruuhijärvi R (1983) The Finnish mire types and their regional distribution. In: Gore AJP (Ed) Ecosystems of the World, Vol. 4B Mires: Swamp, Bog, Fen and Moor (pp 47–65). Regional Studies. Elsevier, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  33. Saarnio S, Alm J, Silvola J, Nykänen H & Martikainen PJ (1996) Seasonal and spatial variation of CH4 emission in an oligotrophic pine fen. In: Laiho R, Laine J & Vasander H (Eds) Northern Peatlands in Global Climatic Change. Proceedings of the International Workshop held in Hyytiälä, Finland, 8–12 October 1995 (pp 171–177). Publ. Academy of Finland 1/96, Edita, HelsinkiGoogle Scholar
  34. Saarnio S, Alm J, Silvola J, Lohila A, Nykänen H & Martikainen PJ (1997) Seasonal variation in CH4 emission and production and oxidation potentials at microsites on an oligotrophic pine fen. Oecologia 110: 414–422Google Scholar
  35. Shanon RD & White JR (1994) A three-year study of controls on methane emissions from two Michigan peatlands. Biogeochemistry 27: 35–60Google Scholar
  36. Silvola J, Väh'joki J & Aaltonen H (1985) Effect of draining and fertilization on soil respiration at three ameliorated peatland sites. Acta For. Fennica 191:1–32Google Scholar
  37. Silvola J, Alm J, Ahlholm U, Nykänen H & Martikainen PJ (1996) CO2 fluxes from peat in boreal mires under varying temperature and moisture conditions. J. Ecol. 84: 219–228Google Scholar
  38. Sommerfeld RA, Mosier AR & Musselman RC (1993) CO2, CH4 and N2O flux through a Wyoming snowpack and implications for global budgets. Nature 361: 140–142Google Scholar
  39. Tolonen K (1967) Über die Entwicklung die Moore im finnischen Nordkarelien. Ann. Bot. Fenn. 4: 219–416Google Scholar
  40. Tolonen K & Turunen J (1996) Accumulation rates of carbon in mires in Finland and implications for climate change. The Holocene 6(2): 171–178Google Scholar
  41. Zimov SA, Semiletov IP, Daviodov SP, Voropaev YuV, Prosyannikov SF, Wong CS & Chan Y-H (1993) Wintertime CO2 emission from soils of northeastern Siberia. Arctic 46(3): 197–204Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jukka Alm
    • 1
  • Sanna Saarnio
    • 1
  • Hannu Nykänen
    • 2
  • Jouko Silvola
    • 1
  • Perttij Martikainen
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of JoensuuJoensuuFinland
  2. 2.Laboratory of Environmental MicrobiologyNational Public Health InstituteKuopioFinland

Personalised recommendations