Soil carbon dioxide and methane fluxes from forests and other land use types in an African tropical montane region | Land Portal

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Date of publication: 
Fevereiro 2019
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In the last 40 years, large areas of the Mau forest, the largest contiguous tropical montane forest in East Africa, have been cleared for agriculture. To date, there are no empirical data on how this land use change affects carbon dioxide (CO2) fluxes from soil respiration and soil methane (CH4) fluxes. This study reports measured annual soil CO2 and CH4 fluxes from the native Mau forest and previously forested lands converted to smallholder grazing land, smallholder and commercial tea plantations and eucalyptus plan- tations. Fluxes were measured weekly from August 2015 to August 2016 using the static chamber method. Grazing lands had the highest (p = 0.028) cumulative respiratory CO2 fluxes (25.6 ± 2.9 Mg CO2–C ha-1 year-1), whereas lowest fluxes were observed in commercial tea plantations (5.6 ± 0.5 Mg CO2–C ha-1 year-1). Soil respiratory CO2 fluxes were positively correlated with soil pH, but negatively correlated with soil C:N ratio. Annual soil fluxes were explained by soil pH, bulk density and the interaction between soil pH and C:N ratio. Most soils were sinks for atmospheric CH4 across all land use types. Methane uptake was highest for native forest sites (- 3.08 ± 0.35 to - 5.84 ± 0.61 kg CH4–C ha-1 year-1) and for eucalyptus plantations (- 3.43 ± 0.19 kg CH4–C ha-1 year-1). Uptake decreased significantly with increasing land use intensity (smallholder tea plantations: - 1.42 ± 0.09 kg CH4–C ha-1 year-1, commercial tea plantations: - 1.44 ± 0.29 kg CH4–C ha-1 year-1). Soils of smallholder grazing lands had the lowest CH4 uptake rates (- 0.36 ± 0.25 kg CH4–C ha-1 year-1). Annual CH4 uptake was negatively correlated with mean annual soil water-filled pore space (p \ 0.01) and bulk density (p = 0.003) and decreased with increasing soil inorganic NH4? concentrations (p = 0.03). Annual soil CH4 can be explained by mainly soil water content and bulk density and these factors are related to gas diffusion. Our study shows that converting tropical montane forests to managed land use types affects soil CO2 and CH4 fluxes. Specifically, the CH4 sink strength in managed land use types of these montane tropical soils was reduced to less than half of the sink strength in the native forest. Soil respiratory CO2 fluxes were also altered by land use with grazing lands emitting 3–4 times more CO2 than the other land use types.

Autores e editores

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Wanyama, Ibrahim
Pelster, David E.
Butterbach-Bahl, Klaus
Verchot, Louis V.
Martius, C.
Rufino, Mariana C.

Corporate Author(s): 
Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)

The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) is a non-profit, scientific facility that conducts research on the most pressing challenges of forest and landscapes management around the world. With our global, multidisciplinary approach, we aim to improve human well-being, protect the environment, and increase equity. To do so, we help policymakers, practitioners and communities make decisions based on solid science about how they use and manage their forests and landscapes.

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ILRI's strategy 2013-2022 was approved in December 2012. It emerged from a wide processof consultation and engagement.

ILRI envisions... a world where all people have access to enough food and livelihood options to fulfil their potential.

ILRI’s mission is... to improve food and nutritional security and to reduce poverty in developing countries through research for efficient, safe and sustainable use of livestock—ensuring better lives through livestock.

ILRI’s three strategic objectives are:

Lancaster University (legally the University of Lancaster) is a collegiate public research university in Lancaster, Lancashire, England. The university was established by Royal Charter in 1964, one of several new universities created in the 1960s.

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CGIAR is the only worldwide partnership addressing agricultural research for development, whose work contributes to the global effort to tackle poverty, hunger and major nutrition imbalances, and environmental degradation.

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