Assessing soil carbon dioxide and methane fluxes from a Scots pine raised bog-edge-woodland

Valeria Mazzola* (Corresponding Author), Mike Perks, Jo Smith, Jagadeesh B. Yeluripati, Georgios Xenakis

*Corresponding author for this work

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Scots pine bog edge woodland is a type of habitat typical on raised bogs where trees cohabitate with bog vegetation to form a low-density stand. Even though nowadays this habitat does not cover large areas, in a future scenario it is possible that this environment will expand, either naturally (drier climate) or
anthropogenically, as the result of the application of new restoration strategies that could increase net landscape carbon benefits from both peatland and woodland environments. This study is the first reported investigation in Scotland exploring carbon flux dynamics from sparse woodlands on raised bogs. We examined how Scots pine trees directly or indirectly affected soil temperature and moisture, ground vegetation, and consequently carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) soil fluxes. Soil CO2 and CH4 were measured at different distance from the tree and thereafter assessed for both spatial and temporal variability. Our results showed that these low-density trees were able to modify the ground vegetation composition, had no effect on soil temperature, but did affect the soil moisture, with soils close to tree roots significantly drier (0.25 ± 0.01 m3 m-3 24 ) than those on open bog(0.39 ± 0.02 m3 m-3). Soil CO2 fluxes were significantly higher in the vicinity of trees (34.13 ± 3.97 µg CO2 m-2s-1) compared to the open bog (24.34 ± 2.86 µg CO2 m-2s-1). On the opposite, CH4 effluxes were significantly larger in the open bog (0.07 ± 0.01 µg CH4 m-2s-1) than close to the tree (0.01 ± 0.00 µg CH4 m-2s-1 27 ). This suggests that Scots pine trees on bog edge woodland may affect soil C fluxes in their proximity primarily due to the contribution of root respiration, but also as a result of their effects on soil moisture, enhancing soil CO2 emissions, while reducing the CH4 fluxes. There is, however, still uncertainty about the complete greenhouse gas assessment, and further research would be needed in order to include the quantification of soil nitrous oxide (N2O) dynamics together with the analysis of complete gas exchanges at the tree-atmosphere level.
Original languageEnglish
Article number114061
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Issue numberPart B
Early online date18 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

We thank the James Hutton Institute Aberdeen for providing laboratory and transport facilities, especially Richard Hewison, who completed the vegetation survey of the site and Graham Gaskin and Alison Wilkinson for providing assistance with field equipment. Author J Yeluripati was supported by the Scottish Government’s Strategic Research Programme (2016–2021): Research Deliverable 1.1.3: Soils and Greenhouse Gas Emissions. I also thank William Jessop (York University), who provided peat depth measurements and my dearest friends Anna Ferretto, Luka Paradiz Udovc, Douglas Wardell-Johnson, Ben Butler, Lucho Quinzo and Ben M. Taylor for offering their invaluable help with field measurements. We lastly thank Toni Clarcke for helping with statistical analysis and Michael Bell (Forest Research) for improvements to the manuscript.

This research was funded by Scottish Forestry and the University of Aberdeen.


  • raised bog
  • peatland-edge-woodland
  • Scots pine
  • Carbon dioxide
  • methane
  • Scotland


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