Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tropical trees are largest emitter of methane in their ecosystem

Date:
December 18, 2012
Source:
Open University
Summary:
Researchers have found that trees in Bornean rainforests emit more methane than any other element of the ecosystem, which provides a new understanding about sources of this powerful greenhouse gas from tropical ecosystems.

Researchers at The Open University have found that trees in Bornean rainforests emit more methane than any other element of the ecosystem, which provides a new understanding about sources of this powerful greenhouse gas from tropical ecosystems.

In a new paper by Dr Vincent Gauci and Sunitha Pangala, published in New Phytologist on 18 December, the researchers will release new findings which show that trees in tropical peat forests of Southeast Asia release more methane through their stems than is emitted from the soil surface.

Sunitha Pangala, final year PhD student at The Open University's Centre for Earth, Planetary Space and Astronomical Research, and lead author on the paper said: "This is the first study to measure methane release from tree stems in tropical peat swamps and evaluate its importance at an ecosystem level. Our research establishes that trees in tropical peat swamps are the largest emission pathway of methane in that ecosystem."

Previously it was thought that methane was only emitted via diffusion and bubbles at the wetland surface. The team measured methane emissions from healthy tree stems in a tropical forested peatland in the upper Sebangau River catchment in Borneo. They found significant quantities of methane being released from the stems of seven of the eight tree species studied. They estimated up to 87% of the methane are released from tree stems, highlighting that the previous methane emission inventories of this ecosystem may have been severely underestimated.

"This work challenges our previous understanding of how these ecosystems exchange methane with the atmosphere and adds another piece to the tropical methane emission puzzle," said Dr Vincent Gauci, Senior Lecturer, Earth Systems, and the project's leader. "It further shows that for wet tropical forested ecosystems, the like of which span south America, Africa and southeast Asia, researchers may have been missing most of the methane emitted from these ecosystems if they neglected to measure tree stem emissions."

According to Dr Gauci, since satellite images showed that there was more methane emitted from tropical ecosystems than measurements at the wetland surface would suggest, researchers have been trying to resolve the puzzle and identify causes behind this apparent discrepancy.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Open University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Vincent Gauci and Sunitha Pangala. Trees are major conduits for methane egress from tropical forested wetlands. New Phytologist, 197:2, 18 December 2012

Cite This Page:

Open University. "Tropical trees are largest emitter of methane in their ecosystem." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121217234944.htm>.
Open University. (2012, December 18). Tropical trees are largest emitter of methane in their ecosystem. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121217234944.htm
Open University. "Tropical trees are largest emitter of methane in their ecosystem." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121217234944.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Powerful Hurricane Gonzalo Heads to Bermuda

Raw: Powerful Hurricane Gonzalo Heads to Bermuda

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) Hurricane Gonzalo pounded Bermuda with wind and heavy surf on Friday, bearing down on the tiny British territory as a powerful Category 3 storm that could raise coastal seas as much as 10 feet. (Oct. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
So, Kangaroos Didn't Always Hop

So, Kangaroos Didn't Always Hop

Newsy (Oct. 16, 2014) Researchers believe an extinct kangaroo species weighed 500 pounds or more and couldn't hop. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hurricane Gonzalo Is A Category 4 And Heading To Bermuda

Hurricane Gonzalo Is A Category 4 And Heading To Bermuda

Newsy (Oct. 16, 2014) Powerful hurricane could hit Bermuda this weekend, and even if it misses it will likely do some damage. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Largest Volcano In Centuries Is Spewing Toxic Gas

The Largest Volcano In Centuries Is Spewing Toxic Gas

Newsy (Oct. 16, 2014) One of the largest volcanic eruptions in centuries is occurring on Iceland. The volcano Bardarbunga is producing high levels of sulfur dioxide. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins