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Faculty for Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences

Department Soil Ecology - Prof. Dr. Eva Lehndorff

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Heinzle, J; Kitzler, B; Zechmeister-Boltenstern, S; Tian, Y; Kwatcho Kengdo, S; Wanek, W; Borken, W; Schindlbacher, A: Soil CH4 and N2O response diminisehes during decadal soil warming in a temperate mountain forest, Agricultural and Forest Meteorology(329), 109287 (2023), doi:10.1016/j.agrformet.2022.109287
Global warming is considered to impact the fluxes of methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) between forest soils and the atmosphere, but it is unclear whether the responses change over time. In this study the response of soil CH4 and N2O fluxes to field soil warming (+4 ◦C) were determined during years 2–5 and 14–16 in a soil warming experiment in a temperate forest. In the second and sixteenth year of soil warming, temperature sensitivities of CH4 and N2O fluxes were assessed in-situ by gradually rising field soil temperatures to ~10 ◦C above ambient within a short period of three to four days. Production of dinitrogen (N2) was measured ex-situ in the sixteenth year of warming. Soil warming significantly reduced CH4 uptake (-19.5%) and increased N2O emissions (+41.6%) during the first years of warming, whereas no warming effects on soil CH4 and N2O fluxes were observed during the later years. Dinitrogen production was up to ten times higher than N2O production, though the high spatiotemporal variability masked any significant effects of soil warming on soil N2 fluxes. Temperature sensitivities (Q10) for CH4 uptake and N2O emissions were 2.07 and 4.06, respectively, in the second year of warming and 1.52 and 1.79, respectively, in the sixteenth year of soil warming. The diminishing warming response of the soil N2O fluxes likely were caused by longer-term changes in soil N availability and/or simultaneous acclimation of the soil microbial community to soil warming. Soil moisture was largely unaffected by soil warming, and soil temperature alone was only a weak predictor of soil CH4 fluxes. Methane fluxes therefore can be expected to be generally less affected than N2O fluxes. Overall, our results suggest that soil warming has only limited and transient effects on soil CH4 and N2O fluxes in this type of temperate forest.
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