Trees are major conduits for methane egress from tropical forested wetlands
Article first published online: 18 DEC 2012
© 2012 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2012 New Phytologist Trust
Volume 197, Issue 2, pages 524–531, January 2013
How to Cite
Pangala, S. R., Moore, S., Hornibrook, E. R. C. and Gauci, V. (2013), Trees are major conduits for methane egress from tropical forested wetlands. New Phytologist, 197: 524–531. doi: 10.1111/nph.12031
- Issue published online: 18 DEC 2012
- Article first published online: 18 DEC 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 3 OCT 2012
- Manuscript Received: 23 AUG 2012
- Open University Centre for Earth, Planetary, Space and Astronomical Research
- Royal Society
- methane (CH4);
- plant-mediated emissions;
- tree-stem fluxes;
- Wetlands are the largest source of methane to the atmosphere, with tropical wetlands comprising the most significant global wetland source component. The stems of some wetland-adapted tree species are known to facilitate egress of methane from anoxic soil, but current ground-based flux chamber methods for determining methane inventories in forested wetlands neglect this emission pathway, and consequently, the contribution of tree-mediated emissions to total ecosystem methane flux remains unknown.
- In this study, we quantify in situ methane emissions from tree stems, peatland surfaces (ponded hollows and hummocks) and root-aerating pneumatophores in a tropical forested peatland in Southeast Asia.
- We show that tree stems emit substantially more methane than peat surfaces, accounting for 62–87% of total ecosystem methane flux. Tree stem flux strength was controlled by the stem diameter, wood specific density and the amount of methane dissolved in pore water.
- Our findings highlight the need to integrate this emission pathway in both field studies and models if wetland methane fluxes are to be characterized accurately in global methane budgets, and the discrepancies that exist between field-based flux inventories and top-down estimates of methane emissions from tropical areas are to be reconciled.