Articles | Volume 9, issue 1
Biogeosciences, 9, 403–422, 2012
Biogeosciences, 9, 403–422, 2012

Research article 23 Jan 2012

Research article | 23 Jan 2012

Annual emissions of CH4 and N2O, and ecosystem respiration, from eight organic soils in Western Denmark managed by agriculture

S. O. Petersen1, C. C. Hoffmann2, C.-M. Schäfer1, G. Blicher-Mathiesen2, L. Elsgaard1, K. Kristensen1, S. E. Larsen2, S. B. Torp1, and M. H. Greve1 S. O. Petersen et al.
  • 1Dept. Agroecology, Aarhus University, P.O.~Box 50, Blichers allé 20, 8830 Tjele, Denmark
  • 2Dept. Bioscience, Aarhus University, Vejlsøvej 25, 8600 Silkeborg, Denmark

Abstract. The use of organic soils by agriculture involves drainage and tillage, and the resulting increase in C and N turnover can significantly affect their greenhouse gas balance. This study estimated annual fluxes of CH4 and N2O, and ecosystem respiration (Reco), from eight organic soils managed by agriculture. The sites were located in three regions representing different landscape types and climatic conditions, and three land use categories were covered (arable crops, AR, grass in rotation, RG, and permanent grass, PG). The normal management at each site was followed, except that no N inputs occurred during the monitoring period from August 2008 to October 2009. The stratified sampling strategy further included six sampling points in three blocks at each site. Environmental variables (precipitation, PAR, air and soil temperature, soil moisture, groundwater level) were monitored continuously and during sampling campaigns, where also groundwater samples were taken for analysis. Gaseous fluxes were monitored on a three-weekly basis, giving 51, 49 and 38 field campaigns for land use categories AR, PG and RG, respectively. Climatic conditions in each region during monitoring were representative as compared to 20-yr averages. Peat layers were shallow, typically 0.5 to 1 m, and with a pH of 4 to 5. At six sites annual emissions of N2O were in the range 3 to 24 kg N2O-N ha−1, but at two arable sites (spring barley, potato) net emissions of 38 and 61 kg N2O-N ha−1 were recorded. The two high-emitting sites were characterized by fluctuating groundwater, low soil pH and elevated groundwater SO42− concentrations. Annual fluxes of CH4 were generally small, as expected, ranging from 2 to 4 kg CH4 ha−1. However, two permanent grasslands had tussocks of Juncus effusus L. (soft rush) in sampling points that were consistent sources of CH4 throughout the year. Emission factors for organic soils in rotation and with permanent grass, respectively, were estimated to be 0.011 and 0.47 g m−2 for CH4, and 2.5 and 0.5 g m−2 for N2O. This first documentation of CH4 and N2O emissions from managed organic soils in Denmark confirms the levels and wide ranges of emissions previously reported for the Nordic countries. However, the stratified experimental design also identified links between gaseous emissions and site-specific conditions with respect to soil, groundwater and vegetation which point to areas of future research that may account for part of the variability and hence lead to improved emission factors or models.

Final-revised paper