The Role of Management on Methane Emissions From Subtropical Wetlands Embedded in Agricultural Ecosystems

Nicholas J. DeLucia, Nuria Gomez-Casanovas, Elizabeth H. Boughton, Carl J. Bernacchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Wetlands are an important source of CH4 globally. However, uncertainty surrounding the impact of anthropogenic activities on CH4 emissions from wetlands limits understanding of how these ecosystems will respond to management changes. Furthermore, by neglecting the potential for management to influence CH4 emissions likely inflates error of CH4 emissions for regional and global CH4 models. This study employed a replicated factorial experimental design to investigate how management of the agricultural landscape, including grazing and/or management intensity, influences net CH4 emissions from embedded, seasonal subtropical wetlands. This research further determined key mechanisms by which management decisions at the landscape scale modulate CH4 emissions from the embedded wetlands. Net CH4 exchange was measured using a closed chamber system over two complete wet/dry seasonal cycles in 16 wetlands embedded in either agronomically improved pastures (improved wetlands) or less intensively grazed unfertilized seminative pastures (seminative wetlands), as well as in grazed and ungrazed wetlands in each treatment. Emissions of CH4 were higher from improved wetlands (2.82 μmol m−2 s−1) than seminative wetlands (0.75 μmol m−2 s−1), particularly during the wet season. Enhanced CH4 emissions in improved wetlands relative to seminative wetlands were caused by increased soil wetness and by higher biomass in improved seminative wetlands. Unlike subtropical flooded pastures, our results showed that grazers do not alter CH4 emissions from subtropical wetlands. Current and future changes in management intensity of pastures may cause shifts in net soil CH4 emissions from embedded subtropical wetlands, which could further enhance this emission source.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2694-2708
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences
Volume124
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019

Keywords

  • Agriculture Intensification
  • Grazing
  • Greenhouse Gases
  • Methane
  • Subtropical
  • Wetlands

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology

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