CO<sub>2</sub> and CH<sub>4</sub> budgets and global warming potential modifications in <i>Sphagnum</i>-dominated peat mesocosms invaded by <i>Molinia caerulea</i>

Leroy, Fabien; Gogo, Sébastien; Guimbaud, Christophe; Bernard-Jannin, Léonard; Yin, Xiaole; Belot, Guillaume; Shuguang, Wang; Laggoun-Défarge, Fatima

Plant communities play a key role in regulating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in peatland ecosystems and therefore in their ability to act as carbon (C) sinks. However, in response to global change, a shift from Sphagnum-dominated to vascular-plant-dominated peatlands may occur, with a potential alteration in their C-sink function. To investigate how the main GHG fluxes (CO2 and CH4) are affected by a plant community change (shift from dominance of Sphagnum mosses to vascular plants, i.e., Molinia caerulea), a mesocosm experiment was set up. Gross primary production (GPP), ecosystem respiration (ER) and CH4 emission models were used to estimate the annual C balance and global warming potential under both vegetation covers. While the ER and CH4 emission models estimated an output of, respectively, 376±108 and 7±4 g C m−2 yr−1 in Sphagnum mesocosms, this reached 1018±362 and 33±8 g C m−2 yr−1 in mesocosms with Sphagnum rubellum and Molinia caerulea. Annual modeled GPP was estimated at -414±122 and -1273±482 g C m−2 yr−1 in Sphagnum and Sphagnum + Molinia plots, respectively, leading to an annual CO2 and CH4 budget of 30 g C m−2 yr−1 in Sphagnum plots and of 223 g C m−2 yr−1 in Sphagnum + Molinia ones (i.e., a C sink). Even if CH4 emissions accounted for a small part of the gaseous C efflux (ca. 3 %), their global warming potential value makes both plant communities have a climate warming effect. The shift of vegetation from Sphagnum mosses to Molinia caerulea seems beneficial for C sequestration at a gaseous level. However, roots and litter of Molinia caerulea could provide substrates for C emissions that were not taken into account in the short measurement period studied here.

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Leroy, Fabien / Gogo, Sébastien / Guimbaud, Christophe / et al: CO<sub>2</sub> and CH<sub>4</sub> budgets and global warming potential modifications in <i>Sphagnum</i>-dominated peat mesocosms invaded by <i>Molinia caerulea</i>. 2019. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Fabien Leroy et al.

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