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Upland forest soils affect the atmospheric methane balance

Upland forest soils affect the atmospheric methane balance

Upland forest soils affect the atmospheric methane balance, not only through the soil sink, but also due to episodic high emissions in wet conditions. FMI measured methane fluxes at Pallas area in nort-western Finland and found that during a wet fall the forest soil turned from a CH4 sink into a large source for several months, while the CH4 emissions from a nearby wetland did not increase. When upscaled to the whole catchment area the contribution of forests amounted to 60% of the annual CH4 emission from the wetlands, while in a normal year the forest soil consumes 10% of the wetland emission. The period of high upland soil emission was also captured by the nearby atmospheric concentration measurement station. Since the land cover within the catchment is representative of larger regions, our findings imply that upland forests in the boreal zone constitute an important part in the global CH4 cycle not previously accounted for.

More information:

Researcher Annalea Lohila, tel. +358 29 539 5498, etunimi.sukunimi@fmi.fi

Lohila A., Aalto T., Aurela M., Hatakka J., Tuovinen J.-P., Kilkki J., Penttilä T., Vuorenmaa J., Hänninen P., Sutinen R., Viisanen Y. and Laurila T. 2016. Large contribution of boreal upland forest soils to a catchment-scale CH4 balance in a wet year. Geophysical Research Letters, DOI 10.1002/2016GL067718.



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