Root- and peat-based CO2 emissions from oil palm plantations

Original Article


Measured carbon dioxide (CO2) flux from peat soils using the closed chamber technique combines root-related (autotrophic + heterotrophic where rhizosphere organisms are involved) and peat-based (heterotrophic) respiration. The latter contributes to peat loss while the former is linked to recent CO2 removal through photosynthesis. The objective of this study was to separate root- from peat-based respiration. The study was conducted on peatland under 6 and 15 year old oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) plantations in Jambi Province, Indonesia in 2011 to 2012. CO2 emissions were measured in the field from 25 cm diameter and 25 cm tall closed chambers using an infrared gas analyser. Root sampling and CO2 emissions measurements were at distances of 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, and 4.5 m from the centre of the base of the palm tree. The emission rate for the six and 15 year old oil palm plantations at ≥3.0 m from the centre of the tree were 38.2 ± 9.5 and 34.1 ± 15.9 Mg CO2 ha−1 yr−1, respectively. At distances <2.5 m, total respiration linearly decreased with distances from the trees. Heterotrophic respirations were 86 % of the 44.7 ± 11.2 and 71 % of 47.8 ± 21.3 Mg CO2 ha−1 yr−1 of weighted surface flux, respectively for the 6 and 15 year old plantations. We propose that CO2 flux measurements in oil palm plantations made at a distance of ≥3 m from the tree centre be used to represent the heterotrophic respiration that is relevant for the environmental impact assessment.


Autotrophic respiration Closed chamber CO2 flux Heterotrophic respiration Infrared Gas Analyser Root-related respiration 



This research was funded by the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7-ENV-2008-1), Project Number No. 226310 (REDD-ALERT). We thank Dr. Meine van Noordwijk from the World Agroforestry Centre and Ms. Jenny Farmer from Aberdeen University for their advise on this manuscript. We thank Dr. Endrizal, the head of and his staff of the Assessment Institute of Agricultural Technology, in Jambi, Indonesia for facilitation and assistance in field work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Indonesian Soil Research InstituteIndonesian Agency for Agricultural Research and DevelopmentBogorIndonesia

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