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Methane emissions from tree stems: a new frontier in the global carbon cycle

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • Josep Barba
  • Mark A. Bradford
  • Paul E. Brewer
  • Dan Bruhn
  • Kristofer Covey
  • Joost van Haren
  • J.  Patrick Megonigal
  • Teis Nørgaard Mikkelsen
  • Sunitha R. Pangala
  • Mari Pihlatie
  • Ben Poulter
  • Albert Rivas-Ubach
  • Christopher W. Schadt
  • Kazuhiko Terazawa
  • Daniel L. Warner
  • Zhen Zhang
  • Rodrigo Vargas
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/04/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>New Phytologist
Issue number1
Number of pages11
Pages (from-to)18-28
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date18/12/18
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Tree stems from wetland, floodplain and upland forests can produce and emit methane (CH 4 ). Tree CH 4 stem emissions have high spatial and temporal variability, but there is no consensus on the biophysical mechanisms that drive stem CH 4 production and emissions. Here, we summarize up to 30 opportunities and challenges for stem CH 4 emissions research, which, when addressed, will improve estimates of the magnitudes, patterns and drivers of CH 4 emissions and trace their potential origin. We identified the need: (1) for both long-term, high-frequency measurements of stem CH 4 emissions to understand the fine-scale processes, alongside rapid large-scale measurements designed to understand the variability across individuals, species and ecosystems; (2) to identify microorganisms and biogeochemical pathways associated with CH 4 production; and (3) to develop a mechanistic model including passive and active transport of CH 4 from the soil–tree–atmosphere continuum. Addressing these challenges will help to constrain the magnitudes and patterns of CH 4 emissions, and allow for the integration of pathways and mechanisms of CH 4 production and emissions into process-based models. These advances will facilitate the upscaling of stem CH 4 emissions to the ecosystem level and quantify the role of stem CH 4 emissions for the local to global CH 4 budget.