Automated measurements of greenhouse gases fluxes from tree stems and soils: magnitudes, patterns and drivers

Josep Barba, Rafael Poyatos, Rodrigo Vargas*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


Tree stems exchange CO 2 , CH 4 and N 2 O with the atmosphere but the magnitudes, patterns and drivers of these greenhouse gas (GHG) fluxes remain poorly understood. Our understanding mainly comes from static-manual measurements, which provide limited information on the temporal variability and magnitude of these fluxes. We measured hourly CO 2 , CH 4 and N 2 O fluxes at two stem heights and adjacent soils within an upland temperate forest. We analyzed diurnal and seasonal variability of fluxes and biophysical drivers (i.e., temperature, soil moisture, sap flux). Tree stems were a net source of CO 2 (3.80 ± 0.18 µmol m −2 s −1 ; mean ± 95% CI) and CH 4 (0.37 ± 0.18 nmol m −2 s −1 ), but a sink for N 2 O (−0.016 ± 0.008 nmol m −2 s −1 ). Time series analysis showed diurnal temporal correlations between these gases with temperature or sap flux for certain days. CO 2 and CH 4 showed a clear seasonal pattern explained by temperature, soil water content and sap flux. Relationships between stem, soil fluxes and their drivers suggest that CH 4 for stem emissions could be partially produced belowground. High-frequency measurements demonstrate that: a) tree stems exchange GHGs with the atmosphere at multiple time scales; and b) are needed to better estimate fluxes magnitudes and understand underlying mechanisms of GHG stem emissions.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number4005
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


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