Full GHG balance of a drained fen peatland cropped to spring barley and reed canary grass using comparative assessment of CO2 fluxes.Environ Monit Assess 2015; 187(3):62EM
Empirical greenhouse gas (GHG) flux estimates from diverse peatlands are required in order to derive emission factors for managed peatlands. This study on a drained fen peatland quantified the annual GHG balance (Carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), methane (CH4), and C exported in crop yield) from spring barley (SB) and reed canary grass (RCG) using static opaque chambers for GHG flux measurements and biomass yield for indirectly estimating gross primary production (GPP). Estimates of ecosystem respiration (ER) and GPP were compared with more advanced but costly and labor-intensive dynamic chamber studies. Annual GHG balance for the two cropping systems was 4.0 ± 0.7 and 8.1 ± 0.2 Mg CO2-Ceq ha(-1) from SB and RCG, respectively (mean ± standard error, n = 3). Annual CH4 emissions were negligible (<0.006 Mg CO2-Ceq ha(-1)), and N2O emissions contributed only 4-13 % of the full GHG balance (0.5 and 0.3 Mg CO2-Ceq ha(-1) for SB and RCG, respectively). The statistical significance of low CH4 and N2O fluxes was evaluated by a simulation procedure which showed that most of CH4 fluxes were within the range that could arise from random variation associated with actual zero-flux situations. ER measured by static chamber and dynamic chamber methods was similar, particularly when using nonlinear regression techniques for flux calculations. A comparison of GPP derived from aboveground biomass and from measuring net ecosystem exchange (NEE) showed that GPP estimation from biomass might be useful, or serve as validation, for more advanced flux measurement methods. In conclusion, combining static opaque chambers for measuring ER of CO2 and CH4 and N2O fluxes with biomass yield for GPP estimation worked well in the drained fen peatland cropped to SB and RCG and presented a valid alternative to estimating the full GHG balance by dynamic chambers.