Fluxes of CH4 and N2O in aspen stands grown under ambient and twice-ambient CO2

TitleFluxes of CH4 and N2O in aspen stands grown under ambient and twice-ambient CO2
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1999
AuthorsAmbus P., Robertson G.P
JournalPlant and Soil

Elevated atmospheric CO2 has the potential to change below-ground nutrient cycling and thereby alter the soil-atmosphere exchange of biogenic trace gases. We measured fluxes of CH4 and N2O in trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.) stands grown in open-top chambers under ambient and twice-ambient CO2 concentrations crossed with 'high' and low soil-N conditions. Flux measurements with small static chambers indicated net CH4 oxidation in the open-top chambers. Across dates, CH4 oxidation activity was signficantly (P<0.05) greater with ambient CO2 (8.7 ug CH4-C/m/h) than with elevated CO2 (6.5 ug CH4-C/m/h) in the low N soil. Likewise, across dates and soil N treatments CH4 was oxidized more rapidly (P<0.05) in chambers with ambient CO2 (9.5 ug CH4-C/m/h) than in chambers with elevated CO2 (8.8 ug CH4-C/m/h). Methane oxidation in soils incubated in serum bottles did not show any response to the CO2 treatment. We suggest that the depressed CH4 oxidation under elevated CO2 in the field chambers is due to soil moisture which tended to be higher in the twice-ambient CO2 treatment than in the ambient CO2 treatment. Phase I denitrification (denitrification enzyme activity) was 12-26% greater under elevated CO2 than under ambient CO2 in the 'high' N soil; one sampling, however, showed a 39% lower enzyme activity with elevated CO2. In both soil N treatments, denitrification potentials measured after 24 or 48 h were between 11% and 21% greater (P < 0.05) with twice-ambient CO2 than with ambient CO2. Fluxes of N2O in the open-top chambers and in separate 44 cm2 cores +- N fertilization were not affected by CO2 treatment and soil N status. Our data show that elevated atmospheric CO2 may have a negative effect on terrestrial CH4 oxidation. The data also indicated temporary greater denitrification with elevated CO2 than with ambient CO2. In contrast, we found no evidence for altered fluxes of N2O in response to increases in atmospheric CO2.