Do plant species influence soil CO2 and N2O fluxes in a diverse tropical forest?

Amer Geophysical Union
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Van Haren Joost et al. 2010, 'Do plant species influence soil CO2 and N2O fluxes in a diverse tropical forest?', Amer Geophysical Union, vol. 115, pp. G03010-1-G03010-9.
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
To test whether plant species influence greenhouse gas production in diverse ecosystems, we measured wet season soil CO2 and N2O fluxes close to ~300 large (>35 cm in diameter at breast height (DBH)) trees of 15 species at three clay-rich forest sites in central Amazonia. We found that soil CO2 fluxes were 38% higher near large trees than at control sites >10 m away from any tree (P < 0.0001). After adjusting for large tree presence, a multiple linear regression of soil temperature, bulk density, and liana DBH explained 19% of remaining CO2 flux variability. Soil N2O fluxes adjacent to Caryocar villosum, Lecythis lurida, Schefflera morototoni, and Manilkara huberi were 84%-196% greater than Erisma uncinatum and Vochysia maxima, both Vochysiaceae. Tree species identity was the most important explanatory factor for N2O fluxes, accounting for more than twice the N2O flux variability as all other factors combined. Two observations suggest a mechanism for this finding: (1) sugar addition increased N2O fluxes near C. villosum twice as much (P < 0.05) as near Vochysiaceae and (2) species mean N2O fluxes were strongly negatively correlated with tree growth rate (P = 0.002). These observations imply that through enhanced belowground carbon allocation liana and tree species can stimulate soil CO2 and N2O fluxes (by enhancing denitrification when carbon limits microbial metabolism). Alternatively, low N2O fluxes potentially result from strong competition of tree species with microbes for nutrients. Species-specific patterns in CO2 and N2O fluxes demonstrate that plant species can influence soil biogeochemical processes in a diverse tropical forest.
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