Scientific References

Peer Reviewed Literature: CH4 uptake along a successional gradient in temperate alpine soils


Cole G. Brachmann, Guillermo Hernandez-Ramirez, & David S. Hik

Presented at
Date January 7th, 2020


The effects of climate change appear to be amplified in mountains compared with lowland areas, with rapid changes in plant community composition, soil properties, and increased substrate for biological development following retreat of glaciers. Associated soil gaseous fluxes in alpine ecosystems contribute to the global balance of greenhouse gases, but methane and carbon dioxide soil fluxes and their controls are not well known. We used a dynamic closed-chamber method to measure methane and carbon dioxide fluxes along a successional gradient during the peak growing season in the North Selkirk Mountains, British Columbia, Canada. Soil physico-chemical properties,vegetation cover, and topographic variables were quantified to determine mechanisms influencing these fluxes. Mean methane uptake ranged from - 155 μg CH4-C m-2h-1 in well vegetated sites to zero in recently deglaciated terrain. Soil total carbon (TC) and water content were the primary drivers of methane uptake. Sites with TC greater than 4% and moisture below 0.22 water fraction by volume (w.f.v) corresponded to the strongest methane sinks. Increased vegetation cover and relatively drier soil conditions, anticipated with future climate change, suggest that methane uptake may increase in these alpine ecosystems.