The atmospheric chemistry of trace gases and particulate matter emitted by different land uses in Borneo

Angus Mackenzie, Carolyn Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Citations (Scopus)


We report measurements of atmospheric composition over a tropical rainforest and over a nearby oil palm plantation in Sabah, Borneo. The primary vegetation in each of the two landscapes emits very different amounts and kinds of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), resulting in distinctive VOC fingerprints in the atmospheric boundary layer for both landscapes. VOCs over the Borneo rainforest are dominated by isoprene and its oxidation products, with a significant additional contribution from monoterpenes. Rather than consuming the main atmospheric oxidant, OH, these high concentrations of VOCs appear to maintain OH, as has been observed previously over Amazonia. The boundary-layer characteristics and mixing ratios of VOCs observed over the Borneo rainforest are different to those measured previously over Amazonia. Compared with the Bornean rainforest, air over the oil palm plantation contains much more isoprene, monoterpenes are relatively less important, and the flower scent, estragole, is prominent. Concentrations of nitrogen oxides are greater above the agro-industrial oil palm landscape than over the rainforest, and this leads to changes in some secondary pollutant mixing ratios (but not, currently, differences in ozone). Secondary organic aerosol over both landscapes shows a significant contribution from isoprene. Primary biological aerosol dominates the super-micrometre aerosol over the rainforest and is likely to be sensitive to land-use change, since the fungal source of the bioaerosol is closely linked to above-ground biodiversity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3177-3195
Number of pages19
JournalRoyal Society of London. Philosophical Transactions B. Biological Sciences
Issue number1582
Publication statusPublished - 27 Nov 2011


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