Articles | Volume 9, issue 3
Research article
26 Mar 2012
Research article |  | 26 Mar 2012

Budget of N2O emissions at the watershed scale: role of land cover and topography (the Orgeval basin, France)

G. Vilain, J. Garnier, P. Passy, M. Silvestre, and G. Billen

Abstract. Agricultural basins are the major source of N2O emissions, with arable land accounting for half of the biogenic emissions worldwide. Moreover, N2O emission strongly depends on the position of agricultural land in relation with topographical gradients, as footslope soils are often more prone to denitrification. The estimation of land surface area occupied by agricultural soils depends on the available spatial input information and resolution. Surface areas of grassland, forest and arable lands were estimated for the Orgeval sub-basin using two cover representations: the pan European CORINE Land Cover 2006 database (CLC 2006) and a combination of two databases produced by the IAU IDF (Institut d'Aménagement et d'Urbanisme de la Région d'Île-de-France), the MOS (Mode d'Occupation des Sols) combined with the ECOMOS 2000 (a land-use classification). In this study, we have analyzed how different land-cover representations influence and introduce errors into the results of regional N2O emissions inventories. A further introduction of the topography concept was used to better identify the critical zones for N2O emissions, a crucial issue to better adapt the strategies of N2O emissions mitigation. Overall, we observed that a refinement of the land-cover database led to a 5 % decrease in the estimation of N2O emissions, while the integration of the topography decreased the estimation of N2O emissions up to 25 %.

Final-revised paper