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CH4 uptake along a successional gradient in temperate alpine soils

Journal article
Authors Cole Brachmann
G Hernandez-Ramirez
D Hik
Published in Biogeochemistry
ISSN 0168-2563
Publication year 2020
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Language en
Keywords Columbia mountains, Methane, Soil fluxes, Alpine, Deglaciated terrain
Subject categories Soil Science, Environmental Sciences, Geochemistry, Terrestrial ecology


The effects of climate change appear to be amplified in mountains compared with lowland areas, with rapid changes in plant community composition, soil properties, and increased substrate for biological development following retreat of glaciers. Associated soil gaseous fluxes in alpine ecosystems contribute to the global balance of greenhouse gases, but methane and carbon dioxide soil fluxes and their controls are not well known. We used a dynamic closed-chamber method to measure methane and carbon dioxide fluxes along a successional gradient during the peak growing season in the North Selkirk Mountains, British Columbia, Canada. Soil physico-chemical properties, vegetation cover, and topographic variables were quantified to determine mechanisms influencing these fluxes. Mean methane uptake ranged from - 155 lg CH4-C m- 2 h-1 in well vegetated sites to zero in recently deglaciated terrain. Soil total carbon (TC) and water content were the primary drivers of methane uptake. Sites with TC greater than 4% and moisture below 0.22 water fraction by volume (w.f.v) corresponded to the strongest methane sinks. Increased vegetation cover and relatively drier soil conditions, anticipated with future climate change, suggest that methane uptake may increase in these alpine ecosystems.

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