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https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2020-297
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2020-297
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  27 Aug 2020

27 Aug 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Comparison of greenhouse gas fluxes and microbial communities from tropical forest and adjacent oil palm plantations on mineral soil

Julia Drewer1, Melissa M. Leduning2, Robert I. Griffiths3, Tim Goodall3, Peter E. Levy1, Nicholas Cowan1, Edward Comynn-Platt3,4, Garry Hayman3, Justin Sentian2, Noreen Majalap5, and Ute M. Skiba1 Julia Drewer et al.
  • 1UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Bush Estate, Penicuik, EH26 0QB, UK
  • 2Faculty of Science and Natural Resources, Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Jalan UMS, 84400 Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
  • 3UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Maclean Building, Benson Lane, Wallingford, Oxfordshire, OX10 8BB, UK
  • 4European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting, Shinfield Road, Reading, Berkshire, RG2 9AX, UK
  • 5Forest Research Centre, Sabah Forestry Department, Jalan Sepilok, Sepilok, 90175 Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia

Abstract. In Southeast Asia, oil palm plantations have largely replaced tropical forests. The impact of this shift in land-use on greenhouse gas (GHG) fluxes and soil microbial communities remains highly uncertain, mainly due to a relatively small pool of available data. The aim of this study is to quantify differences of nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane (CH4) fluxes as well as soil carbon dioxide (CO2) respiration rates from logged forests, oil palm plantations of different ages and an adjacent small riparian area. The focus of this study is on N2O fluxes, as these emissions are expected to increase significantly due to the introduction of nitrogen (N) fertiliser application. This study was conducted in the SAFE (Stability of Altered Forest Ecosystems) landscape in Malaysian Borneo (Sabah) with measurements every two months over a two-year period. GHG fluxes were measured by static chambers; at the same time soil samples were collected for analysis of the key soil physicochemical parameters and for analysis of microbial biodiversity using next generation sequencing in dry and wet season. N2O fluxes were highly variable across the different sites, with the highest mean flux from OP (46.2 ± 166 µg m−2 h−1 N2O-N) and riparian (31.8 ± 220 µg m−2 h−1 N2O-N) sites, compared to lower fluxes from logged forest (13.9 ± 171 µg m−2 h−1 N2O-N). Methane fluxes were generally small; −2.6 ± 17.2 µg CH4-C m−2 h−1 for OP and 1.3 ± 12.6 µg CH4-C m−2 h−1 for riparian with the range of measured CH4 fluxes largest in logged forests (2.2 ± 48.3 µg CH4- m−2 h−1). Soil respiration rates were larger from riparian areas (157.7 ± 106 mg m−2 h−1 CO2-C) and logged forests (137.4 ± 95 mg m−2 h−1 CO2-C) than OP plantations (93.3 ± 70 mg m−2 h−1 CO2-C) due to larger amounts of decomposing leaf litter. Microbial communities were distinctly different between the different land-use types and sites, bacterial communities linked to soil pH and fungal and eukaryotic communities to land-use. Despite measuring a number of environmental parameters, mixed models could only explain up to 17 % of the variance of measured fluxes for N2O, 3 % of CH4 and 25 % of soil respiration. Scaling up measured N2O fluxes to Sabah using land areas for forest and OP resulted in emissions increasing from 7.6 Mt (95 % confidence interval, −3.0–22.3 Mt) per year in 1973 to 11.4 Mt (0.2–28.6 Mt) per year in 2015 due to the increasing area of forest converted to OP plantations over the last ~40 years.

Julia Drewer et al.

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Julia Drewer et al.

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Soil greenhouse gas fluxes and associated parameters from forest and oil palm in the SAFE landscape Julia Drewer, Melissa Leduning, Justin Sentian, and Ute Skiba https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3258117

Julia Drewer et al.

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Short summary
In Southeast Asia, oil palm plantations have largely replaced tropical forests. The impact of this shift in land-use on greenhouse gas fluxes and soil microbial communities remains uncertain. We have found emission rates of the potent greenhouse gas nitrous oxide on mineral soil to be higher from oil palm plantations than logged forest over a 2-year study and concluded that emissions have increased over the last 42 years in Sabah, with the proportion of emissions from plantations increasing.
In Southeast Asia, oil palm plantations have largely replaced tropical forests. The impact of...
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