Complete annual CO2, CH4, and N2O balance of a temperate riparian wetland 12 years after rewetting

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Drained riparian wetlands have been rewetted and restored in recent decades to remove nutrients, increase biodiversity, and mitigate soil carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) emissions. Yet, few studies have documented the long-term effects of rewetting on complete greenhouse gas (GHG) balances including emissions of CO 2 , methane (CH 4 ) and nitrous oxide (N 2 O). Here, we report the complete annual GHG balance of an extensively managed riparian wetland, dominated by creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera), 12 years after rewetting. Net ecosystem exchange (NEE) of CO 2 was measured by transparent closed chambers, and fluxes were partitioned into gross primary production (GPP) and ecosystem respiration (ER) for modelling and extrapolation to annual emissions based on photosynthetically active radiation, ratio vegetation index and temperature. Fluxes of CH 4 and N 2 O were monitored with opaque chambers. Groundwater table (GWT) was close to soil surface for most of the growing period, whereas the site was inundated during winter. Biomass was cut in late summer (8.5 Mg dry weight ha −1 ), but left on-site according to current management in the area. Annual ER (1360 g CO 2 -C m −2 ) exceeded GPP (–1140 g CO 2 -C m −2 ), and the ecosystem was a net source of CO 2 with NEE of 220 g CO 2 -C m −2 yr −1 . However, fluxes of CH 4 (53 g CH 4 m −2 yr −1 ) dominated the annual GHG balance with 405 g CO 2 -C eq m −2 yr −1 which contributed 60% to the total GHG balance. Fluxes of N 2 O were primarily found at times of changing GWT with annual emission of 0.7 g N 2 O m −2 (50 g CO 2 -C eq m −2 ) equal to 7% of the complete GHG balance. With proper management, rewetting and restoration of wetlands is expected to eventually resume the carbon sink function of natural wetlands, but this was not found in the present study as net fluxes of both CO 2 and CH 4 were positive. This was mainly attributed to on-site deposition of biomass which apparently stimulated both CO 2 and CH 4 emissions and partly reduced GPP by acting as a mulch layer. Future studies should focus on managements that increase CO 2 uptake and biomass yield, and at the same time reduce CH 4 emissions; such managements should avoid on-site deposition of aboveground biomass at rewetted sites.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEcological Engineering
Volume127
Pages (from-to)527-535
Number of pages9
ISSN0925-8574
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Research areas

  • Biomass, CARBON BALANCE, Carbon dioxide, DIFFERENT HARVEST, FEN PEATLAND, FLUX, GREENHOUSE-GAS EMISSIONS, METHANE YIELD, Methane, Nitrous oxide, ORGANIC SOILS, REED CANARY GRASS, RIVER ODENSE, TALL FESCUE, Wetland rewetting

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