Inter-Annual Variability of Area-Scaled Gaseous Carbon Emissions from Wetland Soils in the Liaohe Delta, China.PLoS One 2016; 11(8):e0160612Plos
Global management of wetlands to suppress greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, facilitate carbon (C) sequestration, and reduce atmospheric CO2 concentrations while simultaneously promoting agricultural gains is paramount. However, studies that relate variability in CO2 and CH4 emissions at large spatial scales are limited. We investigated three-year emissions of soil CO2 and CH4 from the primary wetland types of the Liaohe Delta, China, by focusing on a total wetland area of 3287 km2. One percent is Suaeda salsa, 24% is Phragmites australis, and 75% is rice. While S. salsa wetlands are under somewhat natural tidal influence, P. australis and rice are managed hydrologically for paper and food, respectively. Total C emissions from CO2 and CH4 from these wetland soils were 2.9 Tg C/year, ranging from 2.5 to 3.3 Tg C/year depending on the year assessed. Primary emissions were from CO2 (~98%). Photosynthetic uptake of CO2 would mitigate most of the soil CO2 emissions, but CH4 emissions would persist. Overall, CH4 fluxes were high when soil temperatures were >18°C and pore water salinity <18 PSU. CH4 emissions from rice habitat alone in the Liaohe Delta represent 0.2% of CH4 carbon emissions globally from rice. With such a large area and interannual sensitivity in soil GHG fluxes, management practices in the Delta and similar wetlands around the world have the potential not only to influence local C budgeting, but also to influence global biogeochemical cycling.