Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) Toolbox

Case Details

Greenhouse gas emissions along a peat swamp forest degradation gradient in the Peruvian Amazon: soil moisture and palm roots effects

Author(s) van Lent, J.; Hergoualc';h, K.; Verchot, L.V.; Oenema, O.; van Groenigen, J.W.
Year of publication 2019
Tropical peatlands in the Peruvian Amazon exhibit high densities of Mauritia flexuosa palms, which are often cut instead of being climbed for collecting their fruits. This is an important type of forest degradation in the region that could lead to changes in the structure and composition of the forest, quality and quantity of inputs to the peat, soil properties, and greenhouse gas (GHG) fluxes. We studied peat and litterfall characteristics along a forest degradation gradient that included an intact site, a moderately degraded site, and a heavily degraded site. The soil phosphorus and carbon content and carbon-to-nitrogen ratio as well as the litterfall nitrogen content and carbon-to-nitrogen ratio were significantly affected by forest degradation. Soils from the degraded sites consistently produced more carbon dioxide (CO2) than soils from the intact site during in vitro incubations. We conclude that recurrent M. flexuosa harvesting could result in a significant increase of in situ CO2 fluxes and a simultaneous decrease in CH4 emissions via pneumatophores. These changes might alter long-term carbon and GHG balances of the peat, and the role of these ecosystems for climate change mitigation, which stresses the need for their protection.
Type of Case
Printed publication (book, sourcebook, journal article…)
Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 625–643
Forest Type
Other forest types (bamboo, swamp forests, etc.)
Primary Designated Function
Multiple use