Burning increases post-fire carbon emissions in a heathland and a raised bog, but experimental manipulation of fire severity has no effect

Grau Andres, R., Gray, A., Davies, G. M., Scott, E. M. and Waldron, S. (2019) Burning increases post-fire carbon emissions in a heathland and a raised bog, but experimental manipulation of fire severity has no effect. Journal of Environmental Management, 233, pp. 321-328. (doi:10.1016/j.jenvman.2018.12.036) (PMID:30584963)

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Abstract

Large amounts of carbon are stored in northern peatlands. There is concern that greater wildfire severity following projected increases in summer drought will lead to higher post-fire carbon losses. We measured soil carbon dynamics in a Calluna heathland and a raised peat bog after experimentally manipulating fire severity. A gradient of fire severity was achieved by simulating drought in 2 × 2 m plots. Ecosystem respiration (ER), net ecosystem exchange (NEE), methane (CH4) flux and concentration of dissolved organic carbon ([DOC], measured at the raised bog only) were measured for up to two years after burning. The response of these carbon fluxes to increased fire severity in drought plots was similar to plots burnt under ambient conditions associated with traditional managed burning. Averaged across all burnt plots, burning altered mean NEE from a net carbon sink at the heathland (−0.33 μmol CO2 m−2 s−1 in unburnt plots) to a carbon source (0.50 μmol m−2 s−1 in burnt plots) and at the raised bog (−0.38 and 0.16 μmol m−2 s−1, respectively). Burning also increased CH4 flux at the raised bog (from 1.16 to 25.3 nmol m−2 s−1 in the summer, when it accounted for 79% of the CO2-equivalent emission). Burning had no significant effect on soil water [DOC].

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The University of Glasgow's Lord Kelvin and Adam Smith Scholarship funded this research.
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Waldron, Professor Susan and Scott, Professor E Marian and Grau Andres, Mr Roger
Authors: Grau Andres, R., Gray, A., Davies, G. M., Scott, E. M., and Waldron, S.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
College of Science and Engineering > School of Mathematics and Statistics > Statistics
Journal Name:Journal of Environmental Management
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0301-4797
ISSN (Online):1095-8630
Published Online:22 December 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 Elsevier
First Published:First published in Journal of Environmental Management 233:321-328
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher
Data DOI:http://researchdata.gla.ac.uk/620/

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