Articles | Volume 19, issue 17
Research article
06 Sep 2022
Research article |  | 06 Sep 2022

The carbon budget of the managed grasslands of Great Britain – informed by earth observations

Vasileios Myrgiotis, Thomas Luke Smallman, and Mathew Williams

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Cited articles

Abdalla, M., Hastings, A., Chadwick, D. R., Jones, D. L., Evans, C. D., Jones, M. B., Rees, R. M., and Smith, P.: Critical review of the impacts of grazing intensity on soil organic carbon storage and other soil quality indicators in extensively managed grasslands, Agr. Ecosyst. Environ., 253, 62–81,, 2018. a, b, c
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Ammann, C., Neftel, A., Jocher, M., Fuhrer, J., and Leifeld, J.: Effect of management and weather variations on the greenhouse gas budget of two grasslands during a 10-year experiment, Agr. Ecosyst. Environ., 292, 106814,, 2020. a
Bahn, M., Rodeghiero, M., Anderson-Dunn, M., Dore, S., Gimeno, C., Drösler, M., Williams, M., Ammann, C., Berninger, F., Flechard, C., Jones, S., Balzarolo, M., Kumar, S., Newesely, C., Priwitzer, T., Raschi, A., Siegwolf, R., Susiluoto, S., Tenhunen, J., Wohlfahrt, G., and Cernusca, A.: Soil Respiration in European Grasslands in Relation to Climate and Assimilate Supply, Ecosystems, 11, 1352–1367,, 2008. a
Bell, M. J., Cloy, J. M., Topp, C. F., Ball, B. C., Bagnall, A., Rees, R. M., and Chadwick, D. R.: Quantifying N2O emissions from intensive grassland production: The role of synthetic fertilizer type, application rate, timing and nitrification inhibitors, J. Agr. Sci., 154, 812–827,, 2016. a
Short summary
This study shows that livestock grazing and grass cutting can determine whether a grassland is adding (source) or removing (sink) carbon (C) to/from the atmosphere. The annual C balance of 1855 managed grassland fields in Great Britain was quantified for 2017–2018 using process modelling and earth observation data. The examined fields were, on average, small C sinks, but the summer drought of 2018 led to a 9-fold increase in the number of fields that became C sources in 2018 compared to 2017.
Final-revised paper