Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2016, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (9): 902-911.doi: 10.17521/cjpe.2016.0029

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Characteristics of methane emission fluxes in the Zoigê Plateau wetland on microtopography

Wen-Chang ZHOU1,2, Li-Juan CUI1,*(), Yi-Fei WANG1, Wei LI1, Xiao-Ming KANG1   

  1. 1Beijing Key Laboratory of Wetland Services and Restoration, Institute of Wetland Research, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091, China
    2Hubei Academy of Forestry, Wuhan 430075, China
  • Received:2016-01-17 Accepted:2016-05-09 Online:2016-09-29 Published:2016-09-10
  • Contact: Li-Juan CUI


AimsThe Zoigê Plateau, as a very important wetland distribution region of China, was the major methane (CH4) emission center of the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau. The objective of this study is to study the effects of microtopographic changes on CH4 emission fluxes from five plots across three marshes in the littoral zone of the Zoigê Plateau wetland.
Methods CH4 emission fluxes were measured in five plots across three marshes in Zoigê Plateau wetland using the closed chamber method and Fast Greenhouse Gas Analyzer from May to October in 2014.
Important findings During the growing season, mean CH4 emission fluxes from the permanently flooded hollow (P-hollow) and hummock (P-hummock) in the Zoigê Plateau wetland were 68.48 and 40.32 mg·m-2·h-1, while mean CH4 emission fluxes from the seasonally flooded hollow (S-hollow) and hummock (S-hummock) were 2.38 and 0.63 mg·m-2·h-1. CH4 emission fluxes from non-flooded lawn was 3.68 mg·m-2·h-1. Mean CH4 emission fluxes from five plots across three sites was 23.10 mg·m-2·h-1, with a standard deviation of 30.28 mg·m-2·h-1 and the coefficient of variation was 131%. We also found that there was a significant and positive correlation between mean CH4 emission fluxes and mean water table depth in the five plots across three sites (R2 = 0.919, p < 0.01), indicating that water table depth was controlling the spatial variability of CH4 emission fluxes from the Zoigê Plateau wetland on microtopography. CH4 emission fluxes in the P-hollow, P-hummock, and S-hummock showed an obvious seasonal pattern, which was not observed in the lawn and S-hollow. However, CH4 emission peaks were observed in all the plots during summer and/or autumn, which could be closely related to the water table depth, soil temperature, and the magnitude of litter mass. In addition, we found that the CH4 emission flux in the P-hollow was much higher than the other four plots in the Zoigê Plateau wetland, suggesting that CH4 in the P-hollow could be often transported to the surface by ebullition and CH4 emission from the Zoigê Plateau wetland may be under estimated in the past.

Key words: CH4 emission flux, hummock, hollow, lawn, Zoigê Plateau wetland

Table 1

Soil physical and chemical properties from the Zoigê Plateau wetland on five microtopography (mean ± SD)"

样点 Plot pH
(0-10 cm depth)
Soil organic carbon content
(0-30 cm depth) (g·kg-1)
Bulk density
(0-30 cm depth) (g·cm-3)
Total nitrogen
(0-10 cm depth) (g·kg-1)
Aboveground biomass
P-hummock 7.6 ± 0.1 210.38 ± 47.29 0.29 ± 0.09 15.20 ± 3.50 127.16 ± 8.11
P-hollow 279.34 ± 35.54
Lawn 7.5 ± 0.3 143.21 ± 10.03 0.52 ± 0.08 18.05 ± 0.00 142.28 ± 95.61
S-hummock 7.5 ± 0.2 151.74 ± 74.15 0.40 ± 0.16 8.91 ± 3.85 189.74 ± 72.79
S-hollow 194.01 ± 50.07

Fig. 1

Seasonal variations of CH4 emission fluxes from Zoigê Plateau wetland on five microtopography in 2014 (mean ± SD). Lawn, transitional zones between permanently flooded and seasonally flooded sites; P-hollow, permanently flooded hollow; P-hummock, permanently flooded hummock; S-hollow, seasonally flooded hollow; S-hummock, seasonally flooded hummock."

Table 2

Correlation between CH4 emission fluxes and soil temperature or water table depth"

Regression equation
Variable range
R2 p n
CH4排放通量平均值 Mean CH4 emission fluxes y = 1.07x + 32.79 WTD -39.7-29.5 cm 0.919 0.006 5
P-hummock y = 5.07x - 10.38 T5 5.6-17.9 ℃ 0.747 0.000 12
y = 4.60x - 5.00 T10 4.0-14.6 ℃ 0.694 0.012 12
y = 4.21x - 2.08 T15 3.2-14.5 ℃ 0.698 0.012 12
y = 4.12x - 1.49 T20 3.0-15.0 ℃ 0.737 0.006 12
y = 3.63x + 5.93 T30 1.7-15.1 ℃ 0.670 0.017 12
S-hummock y = 0.07x - 0.27 T10 4.0-14.6 ℃ 0.407 0.028 10
y = 0.07x - 0.23 T15 3.2-14.5 ℃ 0.448 0.020 10
y = 0.06x - 0.19 T20 3.0-15.0 ℃ 0.429 0.024 10
y = 0.05x - 0.07 T30 1.7-15.1 ℃ 0.346 0.043 10

Table 3

Comparison of CH4 emission fluxes in various plateau peatlands during the growing season"

Main vegetation
water table
depth (cm)
Mean CH4 emission
fluxes (mg·m-2·h-1)
Study period
Zoigê County of Zoigê Plateau
23.10 ± 30.28 0.17-144.43 May to Oct. 2014 本研究
This study
P-hollow 小眼子菜和狸藻
Potamogeton pusillus and Utricularia vulgaris
29.5 68.48 5.78-144.43 本研究
This study
P-hummock 木里薹草
Carex muliensis
7.5 40.32 12.93-76.86 本研究
This study
Lawn 西藏嵩草和花葶驴蹄草
Kobresia tibetica and Caltha scaposa
-21.6 3.68 0.23-8.45 本研究
This study
S-hollow 木里薹草
Carex muliensis
-21.1 2.38 0.48-4.91 本研究
This study
S-hummock 西藏嵩草
Kobresia tibetica
-39.7 0.63 0.17-1.48 本研究
This study
Hongyuan County of Zoigê Plateau
Carex meyeriana
ND 4.51 0.36-10.04 May to Sept. 2001 Wang et al., 2002
Hongyuan County of Zoigê Plateau
Carex muliensis
ND 2.87 0.51-8.21 May to Sept. 2001 Wang et al., 2002
Hongyuan County of Zoigê Plateau
Carex meyeriana
ND 3.24 0.86-8.93 May to Oct. 2002 Ding et al., 2004
Hongyuan County of Zoigê Plateau
Carex muliensis
ND 1.24 0.16-5.75 May to Oct. 2002 Ding et al., 2004
Hongyuan County of Zoigê Plateau
Carex muliensis and Carex meyeriana
ND 2.43 0.02-12.01 May to Oct. 2003 Wang, 2010
Zoigê County of Zoigê Plateau
Kobresia tibetica and Carex muliensis
-18.36-10.66 14.45 0.17-86.78 June to Sept. 2005 Chen et al., 2008
Zoigê County of Zoigê Plateau
Carex muliensis
-53.94- -4.74 9.83 0.06-39.5 June to Sept. 2009 Li et al., 2011
Qinghai-Xizang Plateau
Kobresia littledalei and Carex doniana
ND 2.80 ± 0.80 ND July to Aug. 1996 Wei et al., 2015
Qinghai-Xizang Plateau
Batrachium trichophyllum
ND 0.27 -0.81-2.64 April to Sept. 1997 Jin et al., 1999
Qinghai-Xizang Plateau
Hippuris vulgaris
10-120 1.46 -0.24-7.85 April to Sept. 1997 Jin et al., 1999
Qinghai-Xizang Plateau
Carex allivescers
12 8.19 1.91-10.58 July to Sept. 2002 Hirota et al., 2004
Qinghai-Xizang Plateau
Carex pamirensis
0.2 5 2.88-6.91 May to Sept. 2012 Song et al., 2015
Qinghai-Xizang Plateau
Carex pamirensis
0.6 6.11 4.61-13.25 May to Sept. 2013 Song et al., 2015
Colorado Front Range, USA
Carex scopulorum
ND 0.35 0.05-1.10 June to Sept. 1992 West et al., 1999
Rocky Mountains, North America
Carex aquatilis
ND 11.45 0.04-20.41 May to Oct.1996 Wickland et al., 1999

Fig. 2

Soil temperature at 15 cm depth and water table depth from the Zoigê Plateau wetland on five microtopography in 2104. Lawn, transitional zones between permanently flooded and seasonally flooded sites; P-hollow, permanently flooded hollow; P-hummock, permanently flooded hummock; S-hollow, seasonally flooded hollow; S-hummock, seasonally flooded hummock."

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