Drainage and peat harvesting may induce considerable changes in the fluxes to the atmosphere of the greenhouse gases CH4 and CO2 in peatlands. In this study, fluxes of CH4 and CO2 were measured with the closed chamber method in 6 Swedish peatlands that are being mined. Fluxes of CH4 were much higher from ditches than from mining “strips”, i.e. emissions from ditches dominated in most peatlands. The total CH4 emission during the growing season (0.41 to 4.5 g CH4 m−2 yr−1) was similar to emissions from virgin peatlands. Emissions from ditches can probably be kept low by keeping the ditches clear from vegetation. Like CH4, CO2 was released to the atmosphere from both ditches and strips in most peatlands. The total emission during the growing season (0.23 to 1.0 kg CO2 m−2 yr−1) was strongly dominated by the strips. Compared to the total peat yield during mining these CO2 emission rates imply that on average ca 6% of the peat carbon is lost by microbial decomposition in the mire.
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Vol. 29 • No. 8