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Possibility of avoiding legumes-deriving boost of N2O emissions in tropical monoculture tree plantations


Recent reports warned that planting leguminous trees under monocultures elevates nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions through N-rich litter inputs. We hypothesized that planting trees on sandy soil can avoid the legume-derived boost of N2O emissions through limiting water availability for N2O production. Effects of planting legumes on methane (CH4) uptakes were also examined. N2O emissions and CH4 uptakes were compared among five tropical tree plantation stands including three leguminous stands (Acacia auriculiformis, Acacia mangium, and Xylia xylocarpa) and two non-leguminous stands (Eucalyptus camaldulensis, and Hopea odorata). Due to lower water contents of the soil, the N2O fluxes in our study site were at the lower end of the tropical rain forests. As we hypothesized, no clear differences in N2O emissions were observed between leguminous and non-leguminous stands. CH4 uptake rates in the present study were lower than those of other tropical forests. CH4 uptakes in leguminous stands did not differ from those in non-leguminous stands. Overall, we demonstrated that planting leguminous trees on sandy soils has a potential to enable us to manage leguminous monoculture tree plantations without boosting N2O emissions or reducing CH4 uptakes.

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We thank all staff members of the Sakaerat Environment Research Station (SERS) for their support of this study. We also thank Prof. Mamoru Kanzaki and Kaoru Kitajima for their support for sample analysis.

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Correspondence to Taiki Mori.

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Project funding: This study was supported by the grant from Grant-in-Aid for JSPS Fellowes (number 25·2647) to TM, and by the MEXT grant-in-aid 22255002 to KK.

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Corresponding editor: Tao Xu.

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Mori, T., Wachrinrat, C., Staporn, D. et al. Possibility of avoiding legumes-deriving boost of N2O emissions in tropical monoculture tree plantations. J. For. Res. (2022).

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  • Nitrous oxide
  • Methane
  • Fast-growing trees
  • Tropical forest
  • Soil texture