Soil Greenhouse Gas Emissions from a Subtropical Mangrove in Hong Kong

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Derrick Yuk Fo Lai and Jiaxing Xu, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, Hong Kong
The concept of “blue carbon” has received increasing attention recently, which points to the potential role of vegetated coastal wetlands in carbon sequestration. Yet, the magnitude and controls of greenhouse gas emissions from coastal wetland ecosystems, especially mangroves in the subtropical regions, are still largely unknown. In this study, we conducted chamber measurements in the Mai Po Marshes Nature Reserve of Hong Kong at monthly intervals to characterize the spatial and temporal variability of the emission of greenhouse gases, including CO2, CH4 and N2O from mangrove soils, and examine the influence of environmental and biotic variables on greenhouse gas fluxes. We found the highest mean CH4 and N2O emissions in autumn and the highest CO2 flux in summer. Along the tidal gradient, we observed significantly higher CH4 and N2O emissions from the middle zones and landward zones, respectively, while no clear spatial variation of CO2 emissions was observed. There were significantly higher soil greenhouse gas emissions from sites dominated by Avicennia marina than those dominated by Kandelia obovata, which might be due to the presence of pneumatophores which facilitated gas transport. We found a significant, negative correlation between CH4 flux and soil NO3-N concentration, while CO2 flux was positively correlation with total Kjeldahl nitrogen content. Soil temperature was positively correlated with the emissions of all three greenhouse gases, while water table depth was positively and negatively correlated with CH4 and N2O emissions, respectively. Our findings demonstrate the high spatial and temporal variability of greenhouse gas emissions from mangrove soils which could be attributed in part to the differences in environmental conditions and dominant plant species.