Methane emissions from tree stems in neotropical peatlands

Sofie Sjögersten, Andy Siegenthaler, Omar R. Lopez, Paul Aplin, Benjamin Turner, Vincent Gauci

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    Neotropical peatlands emit large amounts of methane (CH4) from the soil surface, but
    fluxes from tree stems in these ecosystems are unknown. In this study we investigated CH4
    emissions from five tree species in two forest types common to neotropical lowland peatlands
    in Panama.
    Methane from tree stems accounted for up to 30% of net ecosystem CH4 emissions. Peak
    CH4 fluxes were greater during the wet season when the water table was high and temperatures
    were lower. Emissions were greatest from the hardwood tree Campnosperma
    panamensis, but most species acted as emitters, with emissions declining exponentially with
    height along the stem for all species.
    Overall, species identity, stem diameter, water level, soil temperature and soil CH4 fluxes
    explained 54% of the variance in stem CH4 emissions from individual trees. On the landscape
    level, On the landscape level, the high emissions from C. panamensis forests resulted in that
    they emitted at 340 kg CH4 d1 during flooded periods despite their substantially lower areal
    We conclude that emission from tree stems is an important emission pathway for CH4 flux
    from Neotropical peatlands, and that these emissions vary strongly with season and forest
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)769-781
    Number of pages13
    JournalNew Phytologist
    Issue number2
    Early online date8 Sept 2019
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


    • greenhouse gases
    • methane
    • neotropics
    • peatlands
    • tree emissions
    • tree species
    • tropical forest


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