We investigate the changes in terrestrial natural methane emissions between the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) and preindustrial (PI) periods by performing time-slice experiments with a methane-enabled version of MPI-ESM, the Max Planck Institute Earth System Model. We consider all natural sources of methane except for emissions from wild animals and geological sources, i.e. emissions from wetlands, fires, and termites. Changes are dominated by changes in tropical wetland emissions, with mid-to-high-latitude wetlands playing a secondary role, and all other natural sources being of minor importance. The emissions are determined by the interplay of vegetation productivity, a function of CO.sub.2 and temperature; source area size, affected by sea level and ice sheet extent; and the state of the West African monsoon, with increased emissions from northern Africa during strong monsoon phases. We show that it is possible to explain the difference in atmospheric methane between LGM and PI purely by changes in emissions. As emissions more than double between LGM and PI, changes in the atmospheric lifetime of CH.sub.4, as proposed in other studies, are not required.