Factors affecting oxidative peat decomposition due to land use in tropical peat swamp forests in Indonesia.Sci Total Environ 2017; 609:906-915ST
The increasing frequency of fire due to drainage of tropical peatland has become a major environmental problem in Southeast Asia. To clarify the effects of changes in land use on carbon dioxide emissions, we measured oxidative peat decomposition (PD) at different stages of disturbance at three sites in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia: an undrained peat swamp forest (UF), a heavily drained peat swamp forest (DF), and a drained and burned ex-forest (DB). PD exhibited seasonality, being less in the wet season and greater in the dry season. From February 2014 to December 2015, mean PD (±SE) were 1.90±0.19, 2.30±0.33, and 1.97±0.25μmolm-2s-1 at UF, DF, and DB, respectively. The groundwater level (GWL) was a major controlling factor of PD at all sites. At UF and DF, PD and GWL showed significant quadratic relationships. At DB, PD and GWL showed significant positive and negative relationships during the dry and wet seasons, respectively. Using these relationships, we estimated annual PD from GWL data for 2014 and 2015 as 698 and 745gCm-2yr-1 at UF (mean GWL: -0.23 and -0.39m), 775 and 825gCm-2yr-1 at DF (-0.55 and -0.59m), and 646 and 748gCm-2yr-1 at DB (-0.22 and -0.62m), respectively. The annual PD was significantly higher in DF than in UF or DB, in both years. Despite the very dry conditions, the annual PD values at these sites were much lower than those reported for tropical peat at plantations (e.g., oil palm, rubber, and acacia). The differences in the relationship between PD and GWL indicate that separate estimations are required for each type of land. Moreover, our results suggest that PD can be enhanced by drainage both in forests and at burned sites.