Pedosphere 17(4): 475--486, 2007
ISSN 1002-0160/CN 32-1315/P
©2007 Soil Science Society of China
Published by Elsevier B.V. and Science Press
Methane emission from natural wetlands in China: Summary of years 1995-2004 studies
DING Wei-Xin and CAI Zu-Cong
State Key Laboratory of Soil and Sustainable Agriculture, Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing 210008 (Chian). E-mail:
      From studies undertaken during 1995-2004, annual budgets of CH4 emissions from natural wetlands and its temporal and spatial variations were examined throughout China, and various factors influencing CH4 emissions were also evaluated. The seasonal variation in CH4 emissions that increased with increasing plant growth reached its peak in August;decrease in the emissions was found in freshwater marshes but not in peatlands. Emissions were mainly controlled by temperature and depth of standing water. Low CH4 emissions at the early plant growing stages were not because of deficiency of organic C for CH4 production but because of low temperatures. Low temperatures not only reduced CH4 production but also stimulated CH4 oxidation by lowering the activity of other aerobic microbes which left more O2 in the rhizosphere for methanotrophs. Low summer temperatures (below 20 ℃) in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau lowered CH4 production and CH4 emission resulting in little or no seasonal variation of emissions. Diel and spatial variation in CH4 emissions depended on plant species. For plants that transport CH4 using the pressure-driven convective through-flow mechanism, diel variation in CH4 emissions was governed by diel variation of solar energy load (that produces temperature and vapor pressure differences within various plant tissues) and stomatal conductance. For plants that transport gases using the molecular diffusion mechanism only, the diel variation of CH4 emissions was because of differences in the magnitude of O2 produced through photosynthesis and then delivered into the rhizomes and/or rhizosphere for CH4 oxidation. Emergent plants could transport more CH4 than submerged plants because the former transport CH4 directly into the atmosphere rather than into water as do submerged plants where CH4 can be further be oxidized during its diffusion from water to the atmosphere. Emergent plants with high gas transport capacity could not only transport more CH4 into the atmosphere but also live in deeper water, which in turn would inundate more plant litter, resulting in increased availability of C for CH4 production. Annual CH4 emission from natural wetlands in China was estimated to be 1.76 Tg, up to 1.17 Tg of which was emitted from freshwater marshes. CH4 emission from freshwater marshes mainly occurred during the growing season and less than 8% was released during the freeze-thawing period despite the fact that thawing efficiently released CH4 fixed in ice column into the atmosphere.
Key Words:  diel variation, methane emission, seasonal variation, temporal variation, wetland
Citation: Ding, W. X. and Cai, Z. C. 2007. Methane emission from natural wetlands in China: Summary of years 1995-2004 studies. Pedosphere. 17(4): 475-486.
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