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Title: Methane efflux from an American bison herd
Abstract. American bison (Bison bison L.) have recovered from the brink ofextinction over the past century. Bison reintroduction creates multipleenvironmental benefits, but impacts on greenhouse gas emissions are poorlyunderstood. Bison are thought to have produced some 2 Tg yr−1 of theestimated 9–15 Tg yr−1 of pre-industrial enteric methane emissions,but few measurements have been made due to their mobile grazing habits andsafety issues associated with measuring non-domesticated animals. Here, wemeasure methane and carbon dioxide fluxes from a bison herd on an enclosedpasture during daytime periods in winter using eddy covariance. Methaneemissions from the study area were negligible in the absence of bison(mean ± standard deviation = −0.0009 ± 0.008 µmol m−2 s−1) and were significantly greater than zero,0.048 ± 0.082 µmol m−2 s−1, with a positively skeweddistribution, when bison were present. We coupled bison location estimatesfrom automated camera images with two independent flux footprint models tocalculate a mean per-animal methane efflux of 58.5 µmol s−1 per bison, similar to eddy covariance measurements ofmethane efflux from a cattle feedlot during winter. When we sum theobservations over time with conservative uncertainty estimates we arrive at81 g CH4 per bison d−1 with 95 % confidence intervalsbetween 54 and 109 g CH4 per bison d−1. Uncertainty wasdominated by bison location estimates (46 % of the total uncertainty),then the flux footprint model (33 %) and the eddy covariance measurements(21 %), suggesting that making higher-resolution animal location estimatesis a logical starting point for more » decreasing total uncertainty. Annualmeasurements are ultimately necessary to determine the full greenhouse gasburden of bison grazing systems. Our observations highlight the need tocompare greenhouse gas emissions from different ruminant grazing systems anddemonstrate the potential for using eddy covariance to measure methaneefflux from non-domesticated animals. « less
Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1632810 1702029 1702996
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10229940
Journal Name:
Biogeosciences
Volume:
18
Issue:
3
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
961 to 975
ISSN:
1726-4189
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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