Biogenic hydrocarbon emissions from southern African savannas
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1029/96JD02597
Biogenic nonmethane hydrocarbon (NMHC) emissions were investigated at two field sites in the Republic of South Africa that include five important southern African savanna landscapes. Tropical savannas are a globally important biome with a high potential for biogenic emissions but no NMHC emission measurements in these regions or in any part of Africa have been reported. Landscape average hydrocarbon emissions were estimated by characterizing plant species composition and foliar density at each site, identifying and characterizing NMHC emissions of the most abundant plant species, and identifying and characterizing NMHC emissions of plant species with the highest NMHC emission rates. A hand-held portable analyzer proved to be a useful tool for identifying plants with high emission rates. A branch enclosure system, with gas chromatography and flame ionization detector, was used to quantify isoprene and monoterpene emission rates. Emission rates were species-specific and several genera had both high and low emitters. At least some species with high emission rates were identified in most savanna types. High and low emitters were found on both nutrient-rich and nutrient-poor soils. Landscape average emission capacities for the five savanna types range from 0.6 to 9 mg C m-2 h-1 for isoprene and about 0.05 to 3 mg C m-2 h-1 for monoterpenes. The savanna emission rates predicted by existing global models are within the range estimated for these five savanna types.