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Nitrous oxide emissions from three ecosystems in tropical peatland of Sarawak, Malaysia

MELLING, Lulie, HATANO, Ryusuke, GOH, Kah Joo
Soil science and plant nutrition 2007 v.53 no.6 pp. 792-805
Elaeis guineensis, Metroxylon sagu, crops, ecosystems, edaphic factors, equations, forests, greenhouse gas emissions, nitrates, nitrous oxide, peat, peatlands, plantations, regression analysis, sago, soil temperature, swamps, water table, Borneo, Malaysia
Nitrous oxide (N₂O) emissions were measured monthly over 1 year in three ecosystems on tropical peatland of Sarawak, Malaysia, using a closed-chamber technique. The three ecosystems investigated were mixed peat swamp forest, sago (Metroxylon sagu) and oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) plantations. The highest annual N₂O emissions were observed in the sago ecosystem with a production rate of 3.3 kg N ha⁻¹ year⁻¹, followed by the oil palm ecosystem at 1.2 kg N ha⁻¹ year⁻¹ and the forest ecosystem at 0.7 kg N ha⁻¹ year⁻¹. The N₂O emissions ranged from -3.4 to 19.7 μg N m⁻² h⁻¹ for the forest ecosystem, from 1.0 to 176.3 μg N m⁻² h⁻¹ for the sago ecosystem and from 0.9 to 58.4 μg N m⁻² h⁻¹ for the oil palm ecosystem. Multiple regression analysis showed that N₂O production in each ecosystem was regulated by different variables. The key factors influencing N₂O emissions in the forest ecosystem were the water table and the [graphic removed] concentration at 25-50 cm, soil temperature at 5 cm and nitrate concentration at 0-25 cm in the sago ecosystem, and water-filled pore space, soil temperature at 5 cm and [graphic removed] concentrations at 0-25 cm in the oil palm ecosystem. R² values for the above regression equations were 0.57, 0.63 and 0.48 for forest, sago and oil palm, respectively. The results suggest that the conversion of tropical peat swamp forest to agricultural crops, which causes substantial changes to the environment and soil properties, will significantly affect the exchange of N₂O between the tropical peatland and the atmosphere. Thus, the estimation of net N₂O production from tropical peatland for the global N₂O budget should take into consideration ecosystem type.