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Title: Radiative forcing of methane fluxes offsets net carbon dioxide uptake for a tropical flooded forest

Wetlands are important sources of methane (CH4) and sinks of carbon dioxide (CO2). However, little is known about CH4and CO2fluxes and dynamics of seasonally flooded tropical forests of South America in relation to local carbon (C) balances and atmospheric exchange. We measured net ecosystem fluxes of CH4and CO2in the Pantanal over 2014–2017 using tower‐based eddy covariance along with C measurements in soil, biomass and water. Our data indicate that seasonally flooded tropical forests are potentially large sinks for CO2but strong sources of CH4, particularly during inundation when reducing conditions in soils increase CH4production and limit CO2release. During inundation when soils were anaerobic, the flooded forest emitted 0.11 ± 0.002 g CH4‐C m−2 d−1and absorbed 1.6 ± 0.2 g CO2‐C m−2 d−1(mean ± 95% confidence interval for the entire study period). Following the recession of floodwaters, soils rapidly became aerobic and CH4emissions decreased significantly (0.002 ± 0.001 g CH4‐C m−2 d−1) but remained a net source, while the net CO2flux flipped from being a net sink during anaerobic periods to acting as a source during aerobic periods. CH4fluxes were 50 times higher in the wet season; DOC was a minor component in the net ecosystem carbon balance. Daily fluxes of CO2and CH4were similar in all years for each season, but annual net fluxes varied primarily in relation to flood duration. While the ecosystem was a net C sink on an annual basis (absorbing 218 g C m−2(as CH4‐C + CO2‐C) in anaerobic phases and emitting 76 g C m−2in aerobic phases), high CH4effluxes during the anaerobic flooded phase and modest CH4effluxes during the aerobic phase indicate that seasonally flooded tropical forests can be a net source of radiative forcings on an annual basis, thus acting as an amplifying feedback on global warming.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Date Published:
Journal Name:
Global Change Biology
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 1967-1981
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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