Emission of greenhouse gases from constructed wetlands : Nutrient status in relation to methane and nitrous oxide emission

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Institutionen för geovetenskaper

Abstract: Agricultural land releases large amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus to water bodies which causes eutrophication. Creating wetlands on agricultural land is one way to prevent this major issue. However, constructed wetlands are a large emission source of greenhouse gases. The aim of this study was to quantify the CH4 and N2O emissions in 21 constructed wetlands (CWs) around Mälardalen located in mid-Sweden and 19 CWs in the county of Halland along the south-west coast of Sweden and examine if there was any relation between the emissions and the nutrient status. Furthermore, the emission contributed by CH4 ebullition was evaluated. Synoptic water and gas sampling was done during early and late autumn. Floating chambers were deployed in six wetlands and measured CH4 ebullition over a 24-hour period. The diffusive CH4 emissions varied between 0.10–103 mg m-2 d-1 with a mean value of 13 mg m-2 d-1. The N2O emission varied between -0.086–7.8 mg m-2 d-1 with a mean of 1.4 mg m-2 d-1. Significant negative correlation between N2O emission and C:N ratio and a significant positive correlation between N2O emission and N:P ratio was found. No relation between the CH4 emission and total organic carbon (TOC) was found which other studies have been able to prove. Only a weak relation between the CH4 emission and the C:N ratio was found. The ebullition in the six wetlands varied between 0–62 mg m-2 d-1 and accounted for more than 85% of the total CH4 emission in most of the chambers. No significant difference in ebullition was found within the CWs but between the CWs there were found significant differences. The conclusion of this thesis is that CWs in agricultural areas represent a large source of CH4 and N2O emissions and that nutrient status has a major influence of the N2O emissions. Lastly, ebullition seems to be a major pathway for the CH4 emission.

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