We conducted an experiment on sand and clay tropical forest soils to test the short-term effect of root mortality on the soil-atmosphere flux of nitrous oxide, nitric oxide, methane, and carbon dioxide. We induced root mortality by isolating blocks of land to 1 m using trenching and root exclusion screening. Gas fluxes were measured weekly for ten weeks following the trenching treatment. For ... nitrous oxide there was a highly significant increase in soil-atmosphere flux over the ten weeks following treatment for trenched plots compared to control plots. N2O flux averaged 37.5 and 18.5 ng N cm-2 h-1 from clay trenched and control plots and 4.7 and 1.5 ng N cm-2 h-1 from sand trenched and control plots. In contrast, there was no effect for soil-atmosphere flux of nitric oxide, carbon dioxide, or methane.