Nitrogen and Phosphorus Control Soil Methane Uptake in Tropical Montane Forests

2021 | journal article; research paper. A publication with affiliation to the University of Göttingen.

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​Nitrogen and Phosphorus Control Soil Methane Uptake in Tropical Montane Forests​
Martinson, G. O. ; Müller, A. K. ; Matson, A. L. ; Corre, M. D.   & Veldkamp, E. ​ (2021) 
Journal of Geophysical Research. G, Biogeosciences126(8).​ DOI: https://doi.org/10.1029/2020JG005970 

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Authors
Martinson, Guntars O. ; Müller, Anke K. ; Matson, Amanda L. ; Corre, Marife D. ; Veldkamp, Edzo 
Abstract
Abstract Tropical forests contribute about one third to global annual CH4 uptake by soils. Understanding the factors that control the soil‐atmosphere exchange of CH4 at a large scale is a critical step to improve the CH4 flux estimate for tropical soils, which is presently poorly constrained. Since tropical forest degradation often involves shifts in nutrient availabilities, it is critical to evaluate how this will affect soil CH4 flux. Here, we report how nitrogen (N; 50 kg N ha−1 yr−1), phosphorus (P; 10 kg P ha−1 yr−1), and combined N + P additions affect soil CH4 fluxes across an elevation gradient of tropical montane forests. We measured soil CH4 fluxes in a nutrient application experiment at different elevations over a period of 5 years. Nutrient additions increased soil CH4 uptake after 4–5 years of treatment but effects were not uniform across elevations. At 1,000 m, where total soil P was high, we detected mainly N limitation of soil CH4 uptake. At 2,000 m, where total soil P was low, a strong P limitation of soil CH4 uptake was observed. At 3,000 m, where total P was low in the organic layer but high in mineral soil, we found N limitation of soil CH4 uptake. Our results show that projected increases of N and P depositions may increase soil CH4 uptake in tropical montane forests but the direction, magnitude, and timing of the effects will depend on forests' nutrient status and plant‐microbial competition for N and P.
Plain Language Summary CH4 is a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. Tropical forests are a natural sink of CH4 but increasing nutrient depositions due to industrialization may alter the sink strength of tropical forests. Our results show that projected increases of nitrogen and phosphorus depositions may increase soil CH4 uptake in tropical montane forests but the direction, magnitude, and timing of the effects will depend on forests' nutrients and plant‐microbial competition.
Key Points Projected increases in nitrogen and phosphorus depositions in the tropics will stimulate soil methane uptake in tropical montane forests The direction, magnitude, and timing of nutrient deposition effects on soil methane uptake will depend on forests' nutrient status Nutrient limitations on ecosystem processes have to be investigated in actual field conditions
Issue Date
2021
Journal
Journal of Geophysical Research. G, Biogeosciences 
Organization
Fakultät für Forstwissenschaften und Waldökologie ; Büsgen-Institut ; Abteilung Ökopedologie der Tropen und Subtropen 
ISSN
2169-8953
eISSN
2169-8961
Language
English
Sponsor
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100001659

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