EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Soil greenhouse gas fluxes from large-scale oil palm plantation under conventional and reduced management systems

Guantao Chen1, Edzo Veldkamp1, Aiyen Tjoa2, Muhammad Damris3, Bambang Irawan4, and Marife D. Corre1
Guantao Chen et al.
  • 1Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Faculty of Forest Sciences and Forest Ecology, Soil Science of Tropical and Subtropical Ecosystems, Göttingen, Germany (
  • 2Faculty of Agriculture, Tadulako University, Jl. Soekarno Hatta, km 09 Tondo, Palu 94118, Indonesia
  • 3Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Jambi, Jl. Raya Jambi-Ma. Bulian km. 15, Mendalo Darat, Muaro Jambi, 36361, Indonesia
  • 4Forestry Faculty, University of Jambi, Campus Pinang Masak Mendalo, Jambi 36361, Indonesia

Conventional intensive management, such as high fertilizer and herbicide applications, are common practice in large-scale oil palm plantations. One of the proposed solutions to lessen its environmental impact is to reduce fertilization and employ mechanical weeding without sacrificing yield and profit. A full factorial experiment with two fertilization rates (260 N, 50 P, 220 K kg ha-1 yr-1 as conventional practice, and 136 N, 17 P, 187 K kg ha-1 yr-1, equal to harvest export, as reduced management) and two weeding methods (conventional herbicide application, and mechanical weeding as reduced management) was established in 2016 at a large-scale oil palm plantation (planted in 1998-2002) on a sandy clay loam Acrisol soil in Jambi, Indonesia. Soil CO2, N2O, and CH4 fluxes were measured monthly from July 2019 to June 2020, using vented static chambers. At each plot, the measurements were conducted on two randomly selected subplots, and in each subplot, we measured at three management zones (palm circle, inter-row, and frond-stacked area). During 2017-2020, fruit yield did not differ among treatments (fertilization: P=0.35; weeding control: P=0.11). Soil CO2, N2O, and CH4 fluxes also did not differ among treatments (fertilization: P>0.81; weeding control: P>0.28). Area-weighted from the three management zones, soil CO2 fluxes (mg C m-2 h-1) were 61±2 for conventional and 65±4 for reduced fertilization and 64±4 for herbicide and 62±2 for mechanical weeding. Soil N2O fluxes (µg N m-2 h-1) were 46±12 for conventional and 45±16 for reduced fertilization and 57±15 for herbicide and 34±12 for mechanical weeding. Soil CH4 fluxes (µg C m-2 h-1) were -17±2 for conventional and -17±3 for reduced fertilization and -17±3 for herbicide and -17±2 for mechanical weeding. Distinct differences were observed among the three management zones. Frond-stacked area, with high soil organic carbon and low soil bulk density, had the highest soil CO2 emission and soil CH4 uptake (P≤0.01). Palm circle, with fertilizer application and high soil bulk density, had the highest soil N2O emission and lowest soil CH4 uptake (P≤0.01). Inter-row area, with low soil organic carbon and no direct fertilizer application, had the lowest soil CO2 and N2O emission (P≤0.01). Soil CO2 (rho=0.64, P≤0.05) and N2O (rho=0.53, P≤0.05) fluxes were positively correlated with total mineral N. Soil CH4 flux was negatively correlated with total mineral N (rho=-0.30, P≤0.05) and positively correlated with water-filled pore space (rho=0.66, P≤0.05). Although the frond-stacked area only accounted for 15% of the oil palm plantation area, it contributed 30% of soil CO2 emission and 41% of soil CH4 uptake. The palm circle accounted for 18% of the oil palm plantation area and contributed 79% of soil N2O emissions. Our results indicated that the inherent management zones in oil palm plantations should be spatially represented for accurate quantification of soil greenhouse gas fluxes. Our findings showed that reduced management maintained yield whereas soil greenhouse gas fluxes remained high at least during the 3-4 years of this management experiment, which signified the legacy effect of more than a decade-long conventional management in this mature oil palm plantation.

How to cite: Chen, G., Veldkamp, E., Tjoa, A., Damris, M., Irawan, B., and Corre, M. D.: Soil greenhouse gas fluxes from large-scale oil palm plantation under conventional and reduced management systems, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-2664,, 2022.