Environmental Laboratory

  • Forests: methane source or sink? or both

Forests: methane source or sink? or both

Oct 10 2018 Read 825 Times

Researchers in Sweden are using Gasmet’s portable multiparameter FTIR analyser to measure methane emissions from trees in work that seeks to better understand greenhouse gas dynamics in forest ecosystems.

Iikka Haikarainen, a doctoral student in Environmental Soil Science at Helsinki University’s Department of Agricultural Sciences, is part of a research group focusing on the emissions of greenhouse gases from trees and soil in boreal forest ecosystems.

The research is investigating the role of forests as a methane source, and indicates that boreal forests might play a significant role in the global atmospheric methane budget.

According to Haikarainen, methane is produced under anaerobic conditions in the soil, particularly in woody marshlands where the water table is close to the surface. Methane then passes through the roots and into the tree as part of the plant’s gas exchange. Haikarainen also believes that methane may be generated inside the tree by microorganisms. In order to obtain a complete picture of greenhouse gas dynamics, methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide are all monitored with the same analyser; the Gasmet DX4040.

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