- Recent studies have confirmed significant tree-mediated methane emissions in wetlands; however, conditions and processes controlling such emissions are unclear. Here we identify factors that control the emission of methane from Alnus glutinosa.
- Methane fluxes from the soil surface, tree stem surfaces, leaf surfaces and whole mesocosms, pore water methane concentrations and physiological factors (assimilation rate, stomatal conductance and transpiration) were measured from 4-yr old A. glutinosa trees grown under two artificially controlled water-table positions.
- Up to 64% of methane emitted from the high water-table mesocosms was transported to the atmosphere through A. glutinosa. Stem emissions from 2 to 22 cm above the soil surface accounted for up to 42% of total tree-mediated methane emissions. Methane emissions were not detected from leaves and no relationship existed between leaf surface area and rates of tree-mediated methane emissions. Tree stem methane flux strength was controlled by the amount of methane dissolved in pore water and the density of stem lenticels.
- Our data show that stem surfaces dominate methane egress from A. glutinosa, suggesting that leaf area index is not a suitable approach for scaling tree-mediated methane emissions from all types of forested wetland.