Seeing the wood for the trees in the methane cycle: Insights from forests in South and Central America, Indonesia and beyond

OCTF seminar followed by drinks – all welcome

Wetlands are the largest global source of atmospheric methane (CH4), a potent greenhouse gas. However, methane emission inventories in some forested wetland locations consistently underestimate the atmospheric burden of CH4 determined via remote sensing and inversion modelling, pointing to a major gap in our understanding of the contribution of these ecosystems to CH4 emissions. In upland forests on free-draining soils the methane production capacity of soils is lower, however the finding that trees can transport soil-produced methane from their stems to the atmosphere presents the possibility that forests play an important role in the exchange of this powerful greenhouse gas potentially accounting for bottom up/ top down differences in terrestrial methane emission estimates. In this talk, Prof Gauci will discuss findings from upland and wetland forests spanning Panama, Peru, the Amazon floodplain and Indonesian peat swamp forest together with implications of these findings for a world undergoing change.

Prof Vincent Gauci is Chair in Global Change Ecology in the School of Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences. He directs the NERC Methane Network ‘MethaneNet’ and is PI and Co-PI on numerous grants funded via the NERC, Defra, The AXA Research Fund, The Royal Society as well as other sources. He is interested in the biogeochemistry of carbon-dense terrestrial ecosystems and how they interact with the atmosphere through the exchange of greenhouse gases. These interests include the role of trees in mediating methane emissions from wetlands, the effects of fires and disturbance on fluvial carbon fluxes from forested tropical peat-swamp forest catchments in South-East Asia, investigating the effects of restoration on lowland peatland processes. He also has an interest in the effects of acid rain sulfate deposition on methane emissions from both natural and artificial wetlands (rice paddies). Other interests include the effect of ancient atmospheric composition on wetland biogeochemistry and the effect of volcanic events on wetland ecosystem function.