Articles | Volume 10, issue 8
Research article
16 Aug 2013
Research article |  | 16 Aug 2013

Short-term cropland responses to temperature extreme events during late winter

G. De Simon, G. Alberti, G. Delle Vedove, A. Peressotti, A. Zaldei, and F. Miglietta

Abstract. In recent years, several studies have focused on terrestrial ecosystem response to extreme events. Most of this research has been conducted in natural ecosystems, but few have considered agroecosystems. In this study, we investigated the impact of a manipulated warmer or cooler late winter/early spring on the carbon budget and final harvest of a soybean crop (Glycine max (L.) Merr.). Soil temperature was altered by manipulating soil albedo by covering the soil surface with a layer of inert silica gravel. We tested three treatments – cooling (Co), warming (W), mix (M) – and control (C). An automated system continuously measured soil heterotrophic respiration (Rh), soil temperature profiles, and soil water content across the entire year in each plot. Phenological phases were periodically assessed and final harvest was measured in each plot. Results showed that treatments had only a transient effect on daily Rh rates, which did not result in a total annual carbon budget significantly different from control, even though cooling showed a significant reduction in final harvest. We also observed anticipation in emergence in both W and M treatments and a delay in emergence for Co. Moreover, plant density and growth increased in W and M and decreased in Co. In conclusion, from the results of our experiment we can assert that an increase in the frequency of both heat and cold waves is unlikely to have large effects on the overall annual carbon balance of irrigated croplands.

Final-revised paper