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Controls on the Carbon Balance of Tropical Peatlands

Hirano, Takashi, Jauhiainen, Jyrki, Inoue, Takashi, Takahashi, Hidenori
Ecosystems 2009 v.12 no.6 pp. 873-887
agricultural land, carbon, carbon dioxide, circadian rhythm, clearcutting, diurnal variation, emissions, forest regeneration, forests, global warming, greenhouse gases, methane, microrelief, peatlands, soil respiration, soil temperature, Borneo, Indonesia
The carbon balance of tropical peatlands was investigated using measurements of gaseous fluxes of carbon dioxide (CO₂) and methane (CH₄) at several land-use types, including nondrained forest (NDF), drained forest (DF), drained regenerating forest (DRF) after clear cutting and agricultural land (AL) in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Soil greenhouse gas fluxes depended on land-use, water level (WL), microtopography, temperature and vegetation physiology, among which WL was the strongest driver. All sites were CH₄ sources on an annual basis and the emissions were higher in sites providing fresh litter deposition and water logged conditions. Soil CO₂ flux increased exponentially with soil temperature (T s) even within an amplitude of 4-5°C. In the NDF soil CO₂ flux sharply decreased when WLs rose above −0.2 and 0.1 m for hollows and hummocks, respectively. The sharp decrease suggests that the contribution of surface soil respiration (RS) to total soil CO₂ flux is large. In the DF soil CO₂ flux increased as WL decreased below −0.7 m probably because the fast aerobic decomposition continued in lower peat. Such an increase in CO₂ flux at low WLs was also found at the stand level of the DF. Soil CO₂ flux showed diurnal variation with a peak in the daytime, which would be caused by the circadian rhythm of root respiration. Among the land-use types, annual soil CO₂ flux was the largest in the DRF and the smallest in the AL. Overall, the global warming potential (GWP) of CO₂ emissions in these land-use types was much larger than that of CH₄ fluxes.