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Emissions of volatile organic compounds from vegetation and their implications for atmospheric chemistry.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


  • Fred Fehsenfeld
  • Jack Calvert
  • Ray Fall
  • Paul Goldan
  • Alex B. Guenther
  • CN Hewitt
  • Brian Lamb
  • Shaw Liu
  • Michael Trainer
  • Hal Westberg
  • Pat Zimmerman
Journal publication date1992
JournalGlobal Biogeochemical Cycles
Number of pages42
Original languageEnglish


Vegetation provides a major source of reactive carbon entering the atmosphere. These compounds play an important role in (1) shaping global tropospheric chemistry, (2) regional photochemical oxidant formation, (3) balancing the global carbon cycle, and (4) production of organic acids which contribute to acidic deposition in rural areas. Present estimates place the total annual global emission of these compounds between approximately 500 and 825 Tg yr−1. The volatile olefinic compounds, such as isoprene and the monoterpenes, are thought to constitute the bulk of these emissions. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that a variety of partially oxidized hydrocarbons, principally alcohols, are also emitted. The available information concerning the terrestrial vegetation as sources of volatile organic compounds is reviewed. The biochemical processes associated with these emissions of the compounds and the atmospheric chemistry of the emitted compounds are discussed.