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Effect of cattle urine addition on the surface emissions and subsurface concentrations of greenhouse gases in a UK peat grassland

Boon, A., Robinson, J. S., Chadwick, D. R. and Cardenas, L. M. (2014) Effect of cattle urine addition on the surface emissions and subsurface concentrations of greenhouse gases in a UK peat grassland. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 186. pp. 23-32. ISSN 0167-8809

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.agee.2014.01.008

Abstract/Summary

Grazing systems represent a substantial percentage of the global anthropogenic flux of nitrous oxide (N2O) as a result of nitrogen addition to the soil. The pool of available carbon that is added to the soil from livestock excreta also provides substrate for the production of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) by soil microorganisms. A study into the production and emission of CO2, CH4 and N2O from cattle urine amended pasture was carried out on the Somerset Levels and Moors, UK over a three-month period. Urine-amended plots (50 g N m−2) were compared to control plots to which only water (12 mg N m−2) was applied. CO2 emission peaked at 5200 mg CO2 m−2 d−1 directly after application. CH4 flux decreased to −2000 μg CH4 m−2 d−1 two days after application; however, net CH4 flux was positive from urine treated plots and negative from control plots. N2O emission peaked at 88 mg N2O m−2 d−1 12 days after application. Subsurface CH4 and N2O concentrations were higher in the urine treated plots than the controls. There was no effect of treatment on subsurface CO2 concentrations. Subsurface N2O peaked at 500 ppm 12 days after and 1200 ppm 56 days after application. Subsurface NO3− concentration peaked at approximately 300 mg N kg dry soil−1 12 days after application. Results indicate that denitrification is the key driver for N2O release in peatlands and that this production is strongly related to rainfall events and water-table movement. N2O production at depth continued long after emissions were detected at the surface. Further understanding of the interaction between subsurface gas concentrations, surface emissions and soil hydrological conditions is required to successfully predict greenhouse gas production and emission.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Earth Systems Science
Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Soil Research Centre
ID Code:36329
Publisher:Elsevier

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