Displaying publications 1 - 20 of 29 in total

  1. Stevenson MA, McGowan S, Anderson NJ, Foy RH, Leavitt PR, McElarney YR, et al.
    Glob Chang Biol, 2016 Apr;22(4):1490-504.
    PMID: 26666434 DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13194
    Planted forests are increasing in many upland regions worldwide, but knowledge about their potential effects on algal communities of catchment lakes is relatively unknown. Here, the effects of afforestation were investigated using palaeolimnology at six upland lake sites in the north-west of Ireland subject to different extents of forest plantation cover (4-64% of catchment area). (210) Pb-dated sediment cores were analysed for carotenoid pigments from algae, stable isotopes of bulk carbon (δ(13) C) and nitrogen (δ(15) N), and C/N ratios. In lakes with >50% of their catchment area covered by plantations, there were two- to sixfold increases in pigments from cryptophytes (alloxanthin) and significant but lower increases (39-116%) in those from colonial cyanobacteria (canthaxanthin), but no response from biomarkers of total algal abundance (β-carotene). In contrast, lakes in catchments with <20% afforestation exhibited no consistent response to forestry practices, although all lakes exhibited fluctuations in pigments and geochemical variables due to peat cutting and upland grazing prior to forest plantation. Taken together, patterns suggest that increases in cyanobacteria and cryptophyte abundance reflect a combination of mineral and nutrient enrichment associated with forest fertilization and organic matter influx which may have facilitated growth of mixotrophic taxa. This study demonstrates that planted forests can alter the abundance and community structure of algae in upland humic lakes of Ireland and Northern Ireland, despite long histories of prior catchment disturbance.
  2. Wetzel FT, Kissling WD, Beissmann H, Penn DJ
    Glob Chang Biol, 2012 Sep;18(9):2707-19.
    PMID: 24501050 DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2012.02736.x
    Sea-level rise (SLR) due to global warming will result in the loss of many coastal areas. The direct or primary effects due to inundation and erosion from SLR are currently being assessed; however, the indirect or secondary ecological effects, such as changes caused by the displacement of human populations, have not been previously evaluated. We examined the potential ecological consequences of future SLR on >1,200 islands in the Southeast Asian and the Pacific region. Using three SLR scenarios (1, 3, and 6 m elevation, where 1 m approximates most predictions by the end of this century), we assessed the consequences of primary and secondary SLR effects from human displacement on habitat availability and distributions of selected mammal species. We estimate that between 3-32% of the coastal zone of these islands could be lost from primary effects, and consequently 8-52 million people would become SLR refugees. Assuming that inundated urban and intensive agricultural areas will be relocated with an equal area of habitat loss in the hinterland, we project that secondary SLR effects can lead to an equal or even higher percent range loss than primary effects for at least 10-18% of the sample mammals in a moderate range loss scenario and for 22-46% in a maximum range loss scenario. In addition, we found some species to be more vulnerable to secondary than primary effects. Finally, we found high spatial variation in vulnerability: species on islands in Oceania are more vulnerable to primary SLR effects, whereas species on islands in Indo-Malaysia, with potentially 7-48 million SLR refugees, are more vulnerable to secondary effects. Our findings show that primary and secondary SLR effects can have enormous consequences for human inhabitants and island biodiversity, and that both need to be incorporated into ecological risk assessment, conservation, and regional planning.
  3. Swinfield T, Both S, Riutta T, Bongalov B, Elias D, Majalap-Lee N, et al.
    Glob Chang Biol, 2020 02;26(2):989-1002.
    PMID: 31845482 DOI: 10.1111/gcb.14903
    Logging, pervasive across the lowland tropics, affects millions of hectares of forest, yet its influence on nutrient cycling remains poorly understood. One hypothesis is that logging influences phosphorus (P) cycling, because this scarce nutrient is removed in extracted timber and eroded soil, leading to shifts in ecosystem functioning and community composition. However, testing this is challenging because P varies within landscapes as a function of geology, topography and climate. Superimposed upon these trends are compositional changes in logged forests, with species with more acquisitive traits, characterized by higher foliar P concentrations, more dominant. It is difficult to resolve these patterns using traditional field approaches alone. Here, we use airborne light detection and ranging-guided hyperspectral imagery to map foliar nutrient (i.e. P, nitrogen [N]) concentrations, calibrated using field measured traits, over 400 km2 of northeastern Borneo, including a landscape-level disturbance gradient spanning old-growth to repeatedly logged forests. The maps reveal that canopy foliar P and N concentrations decrease with elevation. These relationships were not identified using traditional field measurements of leaf and soil nutrients. After controlling for topography, canopy foliar nutrient concentrations were lower in logged forest than in old-growth areas, reflecting decreased nutrient availability. However, foliar nutrient concentrations and specific leaf area were greatest in relatively short patches in logged areas, reflecting a shift in composition to pioneer species with acquisitive traits. N:P ratio increased in logged forest, suggesting reduced soil P availability through disturbance. Through the first landscape scale assessment of how functional leaf traits change in response to logging, we find that differences from old-growth forest become more pronounced as logged forests increase in stature over time, suggesting exacerbated phosphorus limitation as forests recover.
  4. Soper FM, MacKenzie RA, Sharma S, Cole TG, Litton CM, Sparks JP
    Glob Chang Biol, 2019 Aug 29.
    PMID: 31465581 DOI: 10.1111/gcb.14813
    Mangrove forests play an important role in climate change adaptation and mitigation by maintaining coastline elevations relative to sea level rise, protecting coastal infrastructure from storm damage and storing substantial quantities of carbon (C) in live and detrital pools. Determining the efficacy of mangroves in achieving climate goals can be complicated by difficulty in quantifying C inputs (i.e., differentiating newer inputs from younger trees from older residual C pools), and mitigation assessments rarely consider potential offsets to CO2 storage by methane (CH4 ) production in mangrove sediments. The establishment of non-native Rhizophora mangle along Hawaiian coastlines over the last century offers an opportunity to examine the role mangroves play in climate mitigation and adaptation both globally and locally as novel ecosystems. We quantified total ecosystem C storage, sedimentation, accretion, sediment organic C burial and CH4 emissions from ~70 year old R. mangle stands and adjacent uninvaded mudflats. Ecosystem C stocks of mangrove stands exceeded mudflats by 434 ± 33 Mg C ha-1 , and mangrove establishment increased average coastal accretion by 460%. Sediment organic C burial increased 10-fold (to 4.5 Mg C ha-1 yr-1 ), double the global mean for old growth mangrove forests, suggesting that C accumulation from younger trees may occur faster than previously thought, with implications for mangrove restoration. Simulations indicate that increased CH4 emissions from sediments offset ecosystem CO2 storage by only 2-4%, equivalent to 30-60 Mg CO2 -eq ha-1 over mangrove lifetime (100-year sustained global warming potential). Results highlight the importance of mangroves as novel systems that can rapidly accumulate C, have a net positive atmospheric greenhouse gas removal effect, and support shoreline accretion rates that outpace current sea level rise. Sequestration potential of novel mangrove forests should be taken into account when considering their removal or management, especially in the context of climate mitigation goals.
  5. Sharifinia M, Afshari Bahmanbeigloo Z, Smith WO, Yap CK, Keshavarzifard M
    Glob Chang Biol, 2019 Dec;25(12):4022-4033.
    PMID: 31436851 DOI: 10.1111/gcb.14808
    Due to extremely high rates of evaporation and low precipitation in the Persian Gulf, discharges from desalination plants (DPs) can lead to ecological stresses by increasing water temperatures, salinities, and heavy metal concentrations, as well as decreasing dissolved oxygen levels. We discuss the potential ecological impacts of DPs on marine organisms and propose mitigating measures to reduce the problems induced by DPs discharges. The daily capacity of DPs in the Persian Gulf exceeds 11 million m3 per day, which is approximately half of global daily freshwater production; multistage flash distillation (MSF) is the dominant desalination process. Results from field and laboratory studies indicate that there are potentially serious and chronic threats to marine communities following exposure to DP discharges, especially within the zoobenthos, echinodermata, seagrasses, and coral reefs. DP discharges can lead to decreases in sensitive species, plankton abundance, hard substrate epifauna, and growth rates of seagrasses. However, the broad applicability of any one of these impacts is currently hard to scale because of the limited number of studies that have been conducted to assess the ecological impacts of DP discharge on Persian Gulf organisms. Even so, available data suggest that appropriately sited, designed, and operated DPs combined with current developments in impingement and entrainment reduction technology can mitigate many of the negative environmental impacts of DPs.
  6. Tang ACI, Melling L, Stoy PC, Musin KK, Aeries EB, Waili JW, et al.
    Glob Chang Biol, 2020 Dec;26(12):6931-6944.
    PMID: 32881141 DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15332
    Tropical peat forests are a globally important reservoir of carbon, but little is known about CO2 exchange on an annual basis. We measured CO2 exchange between the atmosphere and tropical peat swamp forest in Sarawak, Malaysia using the eddy covariance technique over 4 years from 2011 to 2014. The CO2 fluxes varied between seasons and years. A small carbon uptake took place during the rainy season at the beginning of 2011, while a substantial net efflux of >600 g C/m2 occurred over a 2 month period in the middle of the dry season. Conversely, the peat ecosystem was a source of carbon during both the dry and rainy seasons in subsequent years and more carbon was lost during the rainy season relative to the dry season. Our results demonstrate that the forest was a net source of CO2 to the atmosphere during every year of measurement with annual efflux ranging from 183 to 632 g C m-2  year-1 , noting that annual flux values were sensitive to gap filling methodology. This is in contrast to the typical view of tropical peat forests which must have acted as net C sinks over time scales of centuries to millennia to create the peat deposits. Path analyses revealed that the gross primary productivity (GPP) and ecosystem respiration (RE) were primarily affected by vapour pressure deficit (VPD). Results suggest that future increases in VPD could further reduce the C sink strength and result in additional net CO2 losses from this tropical peat swamp forest in the absence of plant acclimation to such changes in atmospheric dryness.
  7. Riutta T, Kho LK, Teh YA, Ewers R, Majalap N, Malhi Y
    Glob Chang Biol, 2021 May;27(10):2225-2240.
    PMID: 33462919 DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15522
    Soil respiration is the largest carbon efflux from the terrestrial ecosystem to the atmosphere, and selective logging influences soil respiration via changes in abiotic (temperature, moisture) and biotic (biomass, productivity, quantity and quality of necromass inputs) drivers. Logged forests are a predominant feature of the tropical forest landscape, their area exceeding that of intact forest. We quantified both total and component (root, mycorrhiza, litter, and soil organic matter, SOM) soil respiration in logged (n = 5) and old-growth (n = 6) forest plots in Malaysian Borneo, a region which is a global hotspot for emission from forest degradation. We constructed a detailed below-ground carbon budget including organic carbon inputs into the system via litterfall and root turnover. Total soil respiration was significantly higher in logged forests than in old-growth forests (14.3 ± 0.23 and 12.7 ± 0.60 Mg C ha-1  year-1 , respectively, p = 0.037). This was mainly due to the higher SOM respiration in logged forests (55 ± 3.1% of the total respiration in logged forests vs. 50 ± 3.0% in old-growth forests). In old-growth forests, annual SOM respiration was equal to the organic carbon inputs into the soil (difference between SOM respiration and inputs 0.18 Mg C ha-1  year-1 , with 90% confidence intervals of -0.41 and 0.74 Mg C ha-1  year-1 ), indicating that the system is in equilibrium, while in logged forests SOM respiration exceeded the inputs by 4.2 Mg C ha-1  year-1 (90% CI of 3.6 and 4.9 Mg C ha-1  year-1 ), indicating that the soil is losing carbon. These results contribute towards understanding the impact of logging on below-ground carbon dynamics, which is one of the key uncertainties in estimating emissions from forest degradation. This study demonstrates how significant perturbation of the below-ground carbon balance, and consequent net soil carbon emissions, can persist for decades after a logging event in tropical forests.
  8. Herrera M, Klein SG, Schmidt-Roach S, Campana S, Cziesielski MJ, Chen JE, et al.
    Glob Chang Biol, 2020 Jul 06.
    PMID: 32627905 DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15263
    Enhancing the resilience of corals to rising temperatures is now a matter of urgency, leading to growing efforts to explore the use of heat tolerant symbiont species to improve their thermal resilience. The notion that adaptive traits can be retained by transferring the symbionts alone, however, challenges the holobiont concept, a fundamental paradigm in coral research. Holobiont traits are products of a specific community (holobiont) and all its co-evolutionary and local adaptations, which might limit the retention or transference of holobiont traits by exchanging only one partner. Here, we evaluate how interchanging partners affect the short- and long-term performance of holobionts under heat stress using clonal lineages of the cnidarian model system Aiptasia (host and Symbiodiniaceae strains) originating from distinct thermal environments. Our results show that holobionts from more thermally variable environments have higher plasticity to heat stress, but this resilience could not be transferred to other host genotypes through the exchange of symbionts. Importantly, our findings highlight the role of the host in determining holobiont productivity in response to thermal stress and indicate that local adaptations of holobionts will likely limit the efficacy of interchanging unfamiliar compartments to enhance thermal tolerance.
  9. Levin LA, Wei CL, Dunn DC, Amon DJ, Ashford OS, Cheung WWL, et al.
    Glob Chang Biol, 2020 09;26(9):4664-4678.
    PMID: 32531093 DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15223
    Climate change manifestation in the ocean, through warming, oxygen loss, increasing acidification, and changing particulate organic carbon flux (one metric of altered food supply), is projected to affect most deep-ocean ecosystems concomitantly with increasing direct human disturbance. Climate drivers will alter deep-sea biodiversity and associated ecosystem services, and may interact with disturbance from resource extraction activities or even climate geoengineering. We suggest that to ensure the effective management of increasing use of the deep ocean (e.g., for bottom fishing, oil and gas extraction, and deep-seabed mining), environmental management and developing regulations must consider climate change. Strategic planning, impact assessment and monitoring, spatial management, application of the precautionary approach, and full-cost accounting of extraction activities should embrace climate consciousness. Coupled climate and biological modeling approaches applied in the water and on the seafloor can help accomplish this goal. For example, Earth-System Model projections of climate-change parameters at the seafloor reveal heterogeneity in projected climate hazard and time of emergence (beyond natural variability) in regions targeted for deep-seabed mining. Models that combine climate-induced changes in ocean circulation with particle tracking predict altered transport of early life stages (larvae) under climate change. Habitat suitability models can help assess the consequences of altered larval dispersal, predict climate refugia, and identify vulnerable regions for multiple species under climate change. Engaging the deep observing community can support the necessary data provisioning to mainstream climate into the development of environmental management plans. To illustrate this approach, we focus on deep-seabed mining and the International Seabed Authority, whose mandates include regulation of all mineral-related activities in international waters and protecting the marine environment from the harmful effects of mining. However, achieving deep-ocean sustainability under the UN Sustainable Development Goals will require integration of climate consideration across all policy sectors.
  10. McCalmont J, Kho LK, Teh YA, Lewis K, Chocholek M, Rumpang E, et al.
    Glob Chang Biol, 2021 Jun;27(11):2361-2376.
    PMID: 33528067 DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15544
    Need for regional economic development and global demand for agro-industrial commodities have resulted in large-scale conversion of forested landscapes to industrial agriculture across South East Asia. However, net emissions of CO2 from tropical peatland conversions may be significant and remain poorly quantified, resulting in controversy around the magnitude of carbon release following conversion. Here we present long-term, whole ecosystem monitoring of carbon exchange from two oil palm plantations on converted tropical peat swamp forest. Our sites compare a newly converted oil palm plantation (OPnew) to a mature oil palm plantation (OPmature) and combine them in the context of existing emission factors. Mean annual net emission (NEE) of CO2 measured at OPnew during the conversion period (137.8 Mg CO2  ha-1  year-1 ) was an order of magnitude lower during the measurement period at OPmature (17.5 Mg CO2  ha-1  year-1 ). However, mean water table depth (WTD) was shallower (0.26 m) than a typical drainage target of 0.6 m suggesting our emissions may be a conservative estimate for mature plantations, mean WTD at OPnew was more typical at 0.54 m. Reductions in net emissions were primarily driven by increasing biomass accumulation into highly productive palms. Further analysis suggested annual peat carbon losses of 24.9 Mg CO2 -C ha-1  year-1 over the first 6 years, lower than previous estimates for this early period from subsidence studies, losses reduced to 12.8 Mg CO2 -C ha-1  year-1 in the later, mature phase. Despite reductions in NEE and carbon loss over time, the system remained a large net source of carbon to the atmosphere after 12 years with the remaining 8 years of a typical plantation's rotation unlikely to recoup losses. These results emphasize the need for effective protection of tropical peatlands globally and strengthening of legislative enforcement where moratoria on peatland conversion already exist.
  11. Knox SH, Bansal S, McNicol G, Schafer K, Sturtevant C, Ueyama M, et al.
    Glob Chang Biol, 2021 08;27(15):3582-3604.
    PMID: 33914985 DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15661
    While wetlands are the largest natural source of methane (CH4 ) to the atmosphere, they represent a large source of uncertainty in the global CH4 budget due to the complex biogeochemical controls on CH4 dynamics. Here we present, to our knowledge, the first multi-site synthesis of how predictors of CH4 fluxes (FCH4) in freshwater wetlands vary across wetland types at diel, multiday (synoptic), and seasonal time scales. We used several statistical approaches (correlation analysis, generalized additive modeling, mutual information, and random forests) in a wavelet-based multi-resolution framework to assess the importance of environmental predictors, nonlinearities and lags on FCH4 across 23 eddy covariance sites. Seasonally, soil and air temperature were dominant predictors of FCH4 at sites with smaller seasonal variation in water table depth (WTD). In contrast, WTD was the dominant predictor for wetlands with smaller variations in temperature (e.g., seasonal tropical/subtropical wetlands). Changes in seasonal FCH4 lagged fluctuations in WTD by ~17 ± 11 days, and lagged air and soil temperature by median values of 8 ± 16 and 5 ± 15 days, respectively. Temperature and WTD were also dominant predictors at the multiday scale. Atmospheric pressure (PA) was another important multiday scale predictor for peat-dominated sites, with drops in PA coinciding with synchronous releases of CH4 . At the diel scale, synchronous relationships with latent heat flux and vapor pressure deficit suggest that physical processes controlling evaporation and boundary layer mixing exert similar controls on CH4 volatilization, and suggest the influence of pressurized ventilation in aerenchymatous vegetation. In addition, 1- to 4-h lagged relationships with ecosystem photosynthesis indicate recent carbon substrates, such as root exudates, may also control FCH4. By addressing issues of scale, asynchrony, and nonlinearity, this work improves understanding of the predictors and timing of wetland FCH4 that can inform future studies and models, and help constrain wetland CH4 emissions.
  12. Huaraca Huasco W, Riutta T, Girardin CAJ, Hancco Pacha F, Puma Vilca BL, Moore S, et al.
    Glob Chang Biol, 2021 08;27(15):3657-3680.
    PMID: 33982340 DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15677
    Fine roots constitute a significant component of the net primary productivity (NPP) of forest ecosystems but are much less studied than aboveground NPP. Comparisons across sites and regions are also hampered by inconsistent methodologies, especially in tropical areas. Here, we present a novel dataset of fine root biomass, productivity, residence time, and allocation in tropical old-growth rainforest sites worldwide, measured using consistent methods, and examine how these variables are related to consistently determined soil and climatic characteristics. Our pantropical dataset spans intensive monitoring plots in lowland (wet, semi-deciduous, and deciduous) and montane tropical forests in South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia (n = 47). Large spatial variation in fine root dynamics was observed across montane and lowland forest types. In lowland forests, we found a strong positive linear relationship between fine root productivity and sand content, this relationship was even stronger when we considered the fractional allocation of total NPP to fine roots, demonstrating that understanding allocation adds explanatory power to understanding fine root productivity and total NPP. Fine root residence time was a function of multiple factors: soil sand content, soil pH, and maximum water deficit, with longest residence times in acidic, sandy, and water-stressed soils. In tropical montane forests, on the other hand, a different set of relationships prevailed, highlighting the very different nature of montane and lowland forest biomes. Root productivity was a strong positive linear function of mean annual temperature, root residence time was a strong positive function of soil nitrogen content in montane forests, and lastly decreasing soil P content increased allocation of productivity to fine roots. In contrast to the lowlands, environmental conditions were a better predictor for fine root productivity than for fractional allocation of total NPP to fine roots, suggesting that root productivity is a particularly strong driver of NPP allocation in tropical mountain regions.
  13. Evers S, Yule CM, Padfield R, O'Reilly P, Varkkey H
    Glob Chang Biol, 2017 Feb;23(2):534-549.
    PMID: 27399889 DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13422
    Pristine tropical peat swamp forests (PSFs) represent a unique wetland ecosystem of distinctive hydrology which support unique biodiversity and globally significant stores of soil carbon. Yet in Indonesia and Malaysia, home to 56% of the world's tropical peatland, they are subject to considerable developmental pressures, including widespread drainage to support agricultural needs. In this article, we review the ecology behind the functioning and ecosystem services provided by PSFs, with a particular focus on hydrological processes as well as the role of the forest itself in maintaining those services. Drawing on this, we review the suitability of current policy frameworks and consider the efficacy of their implementation. We suggest that policies in Malaysia and Indonesia are often based around the narrative of oil palm and other major monocrops as drivers of prosperity and development. However, we also argue that this narrative is also being supported by a priori claims concerning the possibility of sustainability of peat swamp exploitation via drainage-based agriculture through the adherence to best management practices. We discuss how this limits their efficacy, uptake and the political will towards enforcement. Further, we consider how both narratives (prosperity and sustainability) clearly exclude important considerations concerning the ecosystem value of tropical PSFs which are dependent on their unimpacted hydrology. Current research clearly shows that the actual debate should be focused not on how to develop drainage-based plantations sustainably, but on whether the sustainable conversion to drainage-based systems is possible at all.
  14. Dalu T, Wasserman RJ, Dalu MT
    Glob Chang Biol, 2017 03;23(3):983-985.
    PMID: 27869348 DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13549
    Ephemeral wetlands in arid regions are often degraded or destroyed through poor land-use practice long before they are ever studied or prioritized for conservation. Climate change will likely also have implications for these ecosystems given forecast changes in rainfall patterns in many arid environments. Here, we present a conceptual diagram showing typical and modified ephemeral wetlands in agricultural landscapes and how modification impacts on species diversity and composition.
  15. O'Brien MJ, Ong R, Reynolds G
    Glob Chang Biol, 2017 10;23(10):4235-4244.
    PMID: 28192618 DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13658
    Precipitation patterns are changing across the globe causing more severe and frequent drought for many forest ecosystems. Although research has focused on the resistance of tree populations and communities to these novel precipitation regimes, resilience of forests is also contingent on recovery following drought, which remains poorly understood, especially in aseasonal tropical forests. We used rainfall exclusion shelters to manipulate the interannual frequency of drought for diverse seedling communities in a tropical forest and assessed resistance, recovery and resilience of seedling growth and mortality relative to everwet conditions. We found seedlings exposed to recurrent periods of drought altered their growth rates throughout the year relative to seedlings in everwet conditions. During drought periods, seedlings grew slower than seedlings in everwet conditions (i.e., resistance phase) while compensating with faster growth after drought (i.e., recovery phase). However, the response to frequent drought was species dependent as some species grew significantly slower with frequent drought relative to everwet conditions while others grew faster with frequent drought due to overcompensating growth during the recovery phase. In contrast, mortality was unrelated to rainfall conditions and instead correlated with differences in light. Intra-annual plasticity of growth and increased annual growth of some species led to an overall maintenance of growth rates of tropical seedling communities in response to more frequent drought. These results suggest these communities can potentially adapt to predicted climate change scenarios and that plasticity in the growth of species, and not solely changes in mortality rates among species, may contribute to shifts in community composition under drought.
  16. Wijedasa LS, Sloan S, Page SE, Clements GR, Lupascu M, Evans TA
    Glob Chang Biol, 2018 10;24(10):4598-4613.
    PMID: 29855120 DOI: 10.1111/gcb.14340
    Carbon emissions from drained peatlands converted to agriculture in South-East Asia (i.e., Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo) are globally significant and increasing. Here, we map the growth of South-East Asian peatland agriculture and estimate CO2 emissions due to peat drainage in relation to official land-use plans with a focus on the reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD+)-related Indonesian moratorium on granting new concession licences for industrial agriculture and logging. We find that, prior to 2010, 35% of South-East Asian peatlands had been converted to agriculture, principally by smallholder farmers (15% of original peat extent) and industrial oil palm plantations (14%). These conversions resulted in 1.46-6.43 GtCO2 of emissions between 1990 and 2010. This legacy of historical clearances on deep-peat areas will contribute 51% (4.43-11.45 GtCO2 ) of projected future peatland CO2 emissions over the period 2010-2130. In Indonesia, which hosts most of the region's peatland and where concession maps are publicly available, 70% of peatland conversion to agriculture occurred outside of known concessions for industrial plantation development, with smallholders accounting for 60% and industrial oil palm accounting for 34%. Of the remaining Indonesian peat swamp forest (PSF), 45% is not protected, and its conversion would amount to CO2 emissions equivalent to 0.7%-2.3% (5.14-14.93 Gt) of global fossil fuel and cement emissions released between 1990 and 2010. Of the peatland extent included in the moratorium, 48% was no longer forested, and of the PSF included, 40%-48% is likely to be affected by drainage impacts from agricultural areas and will emit CO2 over time. We suggest that recent legislation and policy in Indonesia could provide a means of meaningful emission reductions if focused on revised land-use planning, PSF conservation both inside and outside agricultural concessions, and the development of agricultural practices based on rehabilitating peatland hydrological function.
  17. Wijedasa LS, Jauhiainen J, Könönen M, Lampela M, Vasander H, Leblanc MC, et al.
    Glob Chang Biol, 2017 03;23(3):977-982.
    PMID: 27670948 DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13516
  18. Prananto JA, Minasny B, Comeau LP, Rudiyanto R, Grace P
    Glob Chang Biol, 2020 08;26(8):4583-4600.
    PMID: 32391633 DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15147
    Tropical peatlands are vital ecosystems that play an important role in global carbon storage and cycles. Current estimates of greenhouse gases from these peatlands are uncertain as emissions vary with environmental conditions. This study provides the first comprehensive analysis of managed and natural tropical peatland GHG fluxes: heterotrophic (i.e. soil respiration without roots), total CO2 respiration rates, CH4 and N2 O fluxes. The study documents studies that measure GHG fluxes from the soil (n = 372) from various land uses, groundwater levels and environmental conditions. We found that total soil respiration was larger in managed peat ecosystems (median = 52.3 Mg CO2  ha-1  year-1 ) than in natural forest (median = 35.9 Mg CO2  ha-1  year-1 ). Groundwater level had a stronger effect on soil CO2 emission than land use. Every 100 mm drop of groundwater level caused an increase of 5.1 and 3.7 Mg CO2  ha-1  year-1 for plantation and cropping land use, respectively. Where groundwater is deep (≥0.5 m), heterotrophic respiration constituted 84% of the total emissions. N2 O emissions were significantly larger at deeper groundwater levels, where every drop in 100 mm of groundwater level resulted in an exponential emission increase (exp(0.7) kg N ha-1  year-1 ). Deeper groundwater levels induced high N2 O emissions, which constitute about 15% of total GHG emissions. CH4 emissions were large where groundwater is shallow; however, they were substantially smaller than other GHG emissions. When compared to temperate and boreal peatland soils, tropical peatlands had, on average, double the CO2 emissions. Surprisingly, the CO2 emission rates in tropical peatlands were in the same magnitude as tropical mineral soils. This comprehensive analysis provides a great understanding of the GHG dynamics within tropical peat soils that can be used as a guide for policymakers to create suitable programmes to manage the sustainability of peatlands effectively.
  19. Sully S, Hodgson G, van Woesik R
    Glob Chang Biol, 2022 Feb 02.
    PMID: 35106864 DOI: 10.1111/gcb.16083
    Marine heatwaves can cause coral bleaching and reduce coral cover on reefs, yet few studies have identified "bright spots," where corals have recently shown a capacity to survive such pressures. We analyzed 7714 worldwide surveys from 1997 to 2018 along with 14 environmental and temperature metrics in a hierarchical Bayesian model to identify conditions that contribute to present-day coral cover. We also identified locations with significantly higher (i.e., "bright spots") and lower coral cover (i.e., "dark spots") than regionally expected. In addition, using 4-km downscaled data of Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) 4.5 and 8.5, we projected coral cover on reefs for the years 2050 and 2100. Coral cover on modern reefs was positively associated with historically high maximum sea-surface temperatures (SSTs), and negatively associated with high contemporary SSTs, tropical-cyclone frequencies, and human-population densities. By 2100, under RCP8.5, we projected relative decreases in coral cover of >40% on most reefs globally but projected less decline on reefs in Indonesia, Malaysia, the central Philippines, New Caledonia, Fiji, and French Polynesia, which should be focal localities for multinational networks of protected areas.
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