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Abstract (from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gcb.12875/abstract): Permafrost thaw can alter the soil environment through changes in soil moisture, frequently resulting in soil saturation, a shift to anaerobic decomposition, and changes in the plant community. These changes, along with thawing of previously frozen organic material, can alter the form and magnitude of greenhouse gas production from permafrost ecosystems. We synthesized existing methane (CH 4) and carbon dioxide (CO 2) production measurements from anaerobic incubations of boreal and tundra soils from the geographic permafrost region to evaluate large-scale controls of anaerobic CO 2 and CH 4 production and compare the relative importance...
Abstract: To test the effects of altered hydrology on organic soil decomposition, we investigated CO2 and CH4 production potential of rich-fen peat (mean surface pH = 6.3) collected from a field water table manipulation experiment including control, raised and lowered water table treatments. Mean anaerobic CO2 production potential at 10 cm depth (14.1 ± 0.9 μmol C g-1 d-1) was as high as aerobic CO2 production potential (10.6 ± 1.5 μmol C g-1 d-1), while CH4 production was low (mean of 7.8 ± 1.5 nmol C g-1 d-1). Denitrification enzyme activity indicated a very high denitrification potential (197 ± 23 μg N g-1 d-1), but net reduction suggested this was a relatively minor pathway for anaerobic CO2 production. Abundances...
Abstract (from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2016GB005548/full): Burn area and the frequency of extreme fire events have been increasing during recent decades in North America, and this trend is expected to continue over the 21st century. While many aspects of the North American carbon budget have been intensively studied, the net contribution of fire disturbance to the overall net carbon flux at the continental scale remains uncertain. Based on national scale, spatially explicit and long-term fire data, along with the improved model parameterization in a process-based ecosystem model, we simulated the impact of fire disturbance on both direct carbon emissions and net terrestrial ecosystem carbon balance...
Abstract (from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gcb.13612/full): Rich fens are common boreal ecosystems with distinct hydrology, biogeochemistry and ecology that influence their carbon (C) balance. We present growing season soil chamber methane emission (FCH4), ecosystem respiration (ER), net ecosystem exchange (NEE) and gross primary production (GPP) fluxes from a 9-years water table manipulation experiment in an Alaskan rich fen. The study included major flood and drought years, where wetting and drying treatments further modified the severity of droughts. Results support previous findings from peatlands that drought causes reduced magnitude of growing season FCH4, GPP and NEE, thus reducing or reversing...
Abstract (from http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v521/n7551/full/nature14238.html): Over 20% of Earth’s terrestrial surface is underlain by permafrost with vast stores of carbon that, once thawed, may represent the largest future transfer of carbon from the biosphere to the atmosphere1. This process is largely dependent on microbial responses, but we know little about microbial activity in intact, let alone in thawing, permafrost. Molecular approaches have recently revealed the identities and functional gene composition of microorganisms in some permafrost soils2, 3, 4 and a rapid shift in functional gene composition during short-term thaw experiments3. However, the fate of permafrost carbon depends on climatic,...
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Methane (CH4) emissions from the northern high-latitude region represent potentially significant biogeochemical feedbacks to the climate system. We compiled a database of growing-season CH4 emissions from terrestrial ecosystems located across permafrost zones, including 303 sites described in 65 studies. Data on environmental and physical variables, including permafrost conditions, were used to assess controls on CH4 emissions. Water table position, soil temperature, and vegetation composition strongly influenced emissions and had interacting effects. Sites with a dense sedge cover had higher emissions than other sites at comparable water table positions, and this was an effect that was more pronounced at low soil...
Abstract (from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26463267): Lowland boreal forest ecosystems in Alaska are dominated by wetlands comprised of a complex mosaic of fens, collapse-scar bogs, low shrub/scrub, and forests growing on elevated ice-rich permafrost soils. Thermokarst has affected the lowlands of the Tanana Flats in central Alaska for centuries, as thawing permafrost collapses forests that transition to wetlands. Located within the discontinuous permafrost zone, this region has significantly warmed over the past half-century, and much of these carbon-rich permafrost soils are now within ~0.5 °C of thawing. Increased permafrost thaw in lowland boreal forests in response to warming may have consequences for...