Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): David J. Millar; David J. Cooper; Kathleen A. DwireRobert M. Hubbard; Joseph von Fischer
    Date: 2016
    Source: Ecosystems. doi: 10.1007/s10021-016-0034-7.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
    PDF: View PDF  (1.0 MB)

    Description

    Mountain fens found in western North America have sequestered atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) for millennia, provide important habitat for wildlife, and serve as refugia for regionally-rare plant species typically found in boreal regions. It is unclear how Rocky Mountain fens are responding to a changing climate. It is possible that fens found at lower elevations may be particularly susceptible to changes because hydrological cycles that control water tables are likely to vary the most. In this study, we fit models of growing season ecosystem-atmosphere CO2 exchange to field-measured data among eight fen plant communities at four mountain fens along a climatic gradient in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and Wyoming. Differences in growing season net ecosystem production (NEP)among study sites were not well correlated with monsoon precipitation, despite a twofold increase in summer rainfall between two study regions. Our results show that NEP was higher for fens located at high elevations compared to those found at lower elevations, with growing season estimates ranging from -342 to 256 g CO2-C m-2. This was reflected in the negative correlation of growing season NEP with air temperature, and positive correlation with water table position, as the high elevation sites had the lowest air temperatures and highest water tables due to greater snowpack and later onset of melt. Our results suggest that sustainability of mountain fens occurring at the lower end of the known elevation range may be particularly susceptible to a changing climate, as these peatlands already experience lower snowpack, earlier snow melt, and warmer growing season air temperatures,which are all likely to be exacerbated under a future climate.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to rmrspubrequest@fs.fed.us to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

    Citation

    Millar, David J.; Cooper, David J.; Dwire, Kathleen A.; Hubbard, Robert M.; von Fischer, Joseph. 2016. Mountain peatlands range from CO2 sinks at high elevations to sources at low elevations: Implications for a changing climate. Ecosystems. doi: 10.1007/s10021-016-0034-7.

    Cited

    Google Scholar

    Keywords

    peatland, net ecosystem production, mountain, climate change, carbon dioxide, fen

    Related Search


    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page
https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/53377