The area of rice paddy fields has declined continuously in East Asian countries due to abandonment of agriculture and concurrent socioeconomic changes. When they are abandoned, rice paddy fields generally transform into wetlands by natural succession. While previous studies have mainly focused on vegetation shifts in abandoned rice paddies, little information is available about how these changes may affect their contribution to wetland functions. As newly abandoned fields proceed through succession, their hydrology and plant communities often change. Moreover, the relationships between these changes, soil microbial characteristics, and emissions of greenhouse gasses are poorly understood. In this study, we examined changes over the course of secondary succession of abandoned rice paddies to wetlands and investigated their ecological functions through changes in greenhouse gas fluxes and microbial characteristics. We collected gas and soil samples in summer and winter from areas dominated by Cyperaceae, Phragmites, and Sphagnum in each site. We found that CO2 emissions in summer were significantly higher than those in winter, but CH4 and N2O emission fluxes were consistently at very low levels and were similar among seasons and locations, due to their low nutrient conditions. These results suggest that microbial activity and abundance increased in summer. Greenhouse gas flux, soil properties, and microbial abundance were not affected by plant species, although the microbial community composition was changed by plant species. This information adds to our basic understanding of the contribution of wetlands that are transformed from abandoned rice paddy systems.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Soil Science