Articles | Volume 10, issue 6
Research article
22 Jun 2013
Research article |  | 22 Jun 2013

Nitrous oxide emissions from soil of an African rain forest in Ghana

S. Castaldi, T. Bertolini, A. Valente, T. Chiti, and R. Valentini

Abstract. Recent atmospheric studies have evidenced the imprint of large N2O sources in tropical/subtropical lands. This source might be attributed to agricultural areas as well as to natural humid ecosystems. The uncertainty related to both sources is very high, due to the scarcity of data and low frequency of sampling in tropical studies, especially for the African continent. The principal objective of this work was to quantify the annual budget of N2O emissions in an African tropical rain forest. Soil N2O emissions were measured over 19 months in Ghana, National Park of Ankasa, in uphill and downhill areas, for a total of 119 days of observation. The calculated annual average emission was 2.33 ± 0.20 kg N-N2O ha−1 yr−1, taking into account the proportion of uphill vs. downhill areas, the latter being characterized by lower N2O emissions. N2O fluxes peaked between June and August and were significantly correlated with soil respiration on a daily and monthly basis. No clear correlation was found in the uphill area between N2O fluxes and soil water content or rain, whereas in the downhill area soil water content concurred with soil respiration in determining N2O flux variability. The N2O source strength calculated in this study is very close to those reported for the other two available studies in African rain forests and to the estimated mean derived from worldwide studies in humid tropical forests (2.81 ± 2.02 kg N-N2O ha−1 yr−1).

Final-revised paper