Journal cover Journal topic
Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 13, issue 8
Biogeosciences, 13, 2305-2318, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-13-2305-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Biogeosciences, 13, 2305-2318, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-13-2305-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 21 Apr 2016

Research article | 21 Apr 2016

Forests on drained agricultural peatland are potentially large sources of greenhouse gases – insights from a full rotation period simulation

Hongxing He1, Per-Erik Jansson2, Magnus Svensson2, Jesper Björklund1,3, Lasse Tarvainen4,5, Leif Klemedtsson1, and Åsa Kasimir1 Hongxing He et al.
  • 1Department of Earth Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden
  • 2Department of Land and Water Resources Engineering, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm, Sweden
  • 3Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL), Birmensdorf, Switzerland
  • 4Department of Forest Ecology and Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Umeå, Sweden
  • 5Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden

Abstract. The CoupModel was used to simulate a Norway spruce forest on fertile drained peat over 60years, from planting in 1951 until 2011, describing abiotic, biotic and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (CO2 and N2O). By calibrating the model against tree ring data a “vegetation fitted” model was obtained by which we were able to describe the fluxes and controlling factors over the 60years. We discuss some conceptual issues relevant to improving the model in order to better understand peat soil simulations. However, the present model was able to describe the most important ecosystem dynamics such as the plant biomass development and GHG emissions. The GHG fluxes are composed of two important quantities, the spruce forest carbon (C) uptake, 413gCm−2yr−1 and the decomposition of peat soil, 399gCm−2yr−1. N2O emissions contribute to the GHG emissions by up to 0.7gNm−2yr−1, corresponding to 76gCm−2yr−1. The 60-year old spruce forest has an accumulated biomass of 16.0kgCm−2 (corresponding to 60kgCO2m−2). However, over this period, 26.4kgCm−2 (97kgCO2eqm−2) has been added to the atmosphere, as both CO2 and N2O originating from the peat soil and, indirectly, from forest thinning products, which we assume have a short lifetime. We conclude that after harvest at an age of 80years, most of the stored biomass carbon is liable to be released, the system having captured C only temporarily and with a cost of disappeared peat, adding CO2 to the atmosphere.

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We simulate CO2 and N2O dynamics over a full forest rotation on drained agricultural peatland, using CoupModel. Data used for validation include tree ring-derived biomass data (1966–2011) and measured abiotic and soil emission data (2006–2011). The results show that the C fixed in forest biomass is slightly larger than the soil losses over the full rotation period. However when including N2O and indirect emissions from forest thinning products, the forest system switches to a large GHG source.
We simulate CO2 and N2O dynamics over a full forest rotation on drained agricultural peatland,...
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