The effect of introducing a winter forage rotation on CO2 fluxes at a temperate grassland

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Leahy, Paul G.
Kiely, Gerard
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Temperate grasslands have the potential to sequester carbon, helping to mitigate rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations. The ability of grasslands to absorb CO2 is influenced by site elevation, soil type, management practices, climate and climatic variability. There is a need for long-term observations and field experiments to quantify the effects of the key drivers of management and climate variability. This paper presents over 4 years of eddy covariance measurements of CO2 flux over a managed temperate grassland site in south-east Ireland. For the first 2 years the entire study area was under grass. During the second 2 years a winter forage crop was grown over part of the site. The site was found to have a net uptake of CO2 during all years. However, the magnitude of the CO2 uptake varied considerably from year to year, with a maximum net uptake of 1.32 kg CO2 m−2 in 2004, a year with no winter forage crop. Net uptakes were much lower in the 2 years of mixed grass and kale cultivation, but detailed analysis of the measurement footprint and statistical comparisons showed that this was not due to the introduction of the forage rotation. For a short period following sowing of the forage crop, daytime CO2 uptake was less than that of the area under grass, but over subsequent months daytime CO2 uptake of the kale areas recovered strongly and exceeded that of the grass areas. The net effect over the year following kale planting is close to CO2-neutral.
Net ecosystem exchange , Land use , Eddy covariance , Ireland , Kale
Leahy, P.; Kiely, G. (2012) 'The effect of introducing a winter forage rotation on CO2 fluxes at a temperate grassland'. Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment, 156 :49-56. doi:
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Copyright © 2012, Elsevier. NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, [156, 1 August 2012]