Reforestation: A potential approach to mitigate excess atmospheric CH4 build-up

Authors

  • Jay Shankar Singh,

  • Devendra Pratap Singh


Jay S. Singh is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Microbiology who is working on the ecology of methanotrophic bacteria in relation to current environmental problems and is based at the School for Environmental Sciences, B.B. Ambedkar (Central) University (Raibarelly Road, Lucknow-226025, Uttar Pradesh, India; Email: jayshankar_1@yahoo.co.in). D. P. Singh is a Professor and Head in the Department of Environmental Science with the School for Environmental Sciences, B. B. Ambedkar (Central) University (Raibarelly Road, Lucknow-226025, Uttar Pradesh, India; Email: dpsingh_lko@yahoo.com). This comment piece proposes that reforestation, or restoration, of degraded forest ecosystems in different parts of the world has the potential to enhance soil methane (CH4) uptake and, consequently to mitigate the excessive global atmospheric CH4 emissions.

Abstract

Summary  Methane (CH4) is a very dangerous greenhouse gas, and its atmospheric concentration is rising due to natural and anthropogenic disturbances. Anthropogenic disturbances such as forest clearing, land-use changes and farming practices all result in considerable increases in N inputs and alterations in soil properties, including the CH4 sink potential of the soil. Forest soils contribute to the consumption of CH4 due to the presence of methanotrophic bacteria. It is proposed that the restoration of degraded forest ecosystems or unused degraded land may significantly contribute to the recovery of methanotrophic activity in the soil and thereby the soil CH4 sink potential.

Ancillary