Methane emissions from tree stems: a new frontier in the global carbon cycle

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article – Annual report year: 2019Researchpeer-review

DOI

  • Author: Barba, Josep

    University of Delaware, United States

  • Author: Bradford, Mark A

    Yale University, United States

  • Author: Brewer, Paul E

    Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, United States

  • Author: Bruhn, Dan

    Aalborg University, Denmark

  • Author: Covey, Kristofer

    Yale University, United States

  • Author: van Haren, Joost

    University of Arizona, United States

  • Author: Megonigal, J Patrick

    Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, United States

  • Author: Mikkelsen, Teis Nørgaard

    Air, Land & Water Resources, Department of Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Bygningstorvet, 2800, Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark

  • Author: Pangala, Sunitha R

    Lancaster University, United Kingdom

  • Author: Pihlatie, Mari

    University of Helsinki, Finland

  • Author: Poulter, Ben

    NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, United States

  • Author: Rivas-Ubach, Albert

    Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, United States

  • Author: Schadt, Christopher W.

    Oak Ridge National Laboratory, United States

  • Author: Terazawa, Kazuhiko

    Tokyo University of Agriculture, Japan

  • Author: Warner, Daniel L

    University of Delaware, United States

  • Author: Zhang, Zhen

    University of Maryland, College Park, United States

  • Author: Vargas, Rodrigo

    University of Delaware, United States

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Tree stems from wetland, floodplain and upland forests can produce and emit methane (CH4 ). Tree CH4 stem emissions have high spatial and temporal variability, but there is no consensus on the biophysical mechanisms that drive stem CH4 production and emissions. Here, we summarize up to 30 opportunities and challenges for stem CH4 emissions research, which when addressed will improve estimates of magnitudes, patterns, drivers and trace the potential origin of CH4 emissions. We identified the need (i) for both long-term high frequency measurements of stem CH4 emissions to understand the fine scale processes, alongside rapid large-scale measurements designed to understand variability across individuals, species and ecosystems; (ii) to identify microorganisms and biogeochemical pathways associated with CH4 production; and (iii) to develop a mechanistic model including passive and active transport of CH4 from the soil-tree-atmosphere continuum. Addressing these challenges would help to constrain magnitudes and patterns of CH4 emissions, and would allow for the integration of pathways and mechanisms of CH4 production and emissions into process-based models. These advances will facilitate upscaling of stem CH4 emissions to the ecosystem level and quantify the role of stem CH4 emissions for the local-to-global CH4 budget. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNew Phytologist
Volume222
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)18-28
ISSN0028-646X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019
CitationsWeb of Science® Times Cited: No match on DOI

    Research areas

  • Methane emissions, CH4 transport, Tree stems, Upland forests, Wetland forests, Methanogenesis, Spatial variability, Temporal variability

ID: 159333669