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Greenhouse gas fluxes over managed grasslands in Central Europe
- Hörtnagl, Lukas, Barthel, Matti, Buchmann, Nina, Eugster, Werner, Butterbach‐Bahl, Klaus, Díaz‐Pinés, Eugenio, Zeeman, Matthias, Klumpp, Katja, Kiese, Ralf, Bahn, Michael, Hammerle, Albin, Lu, Haiyan, Ladreiter‐Knauss, Thomas, Burri, Susanne, Merbold, Lutz
- Global change biology 2018 v.24 no.5 pp. 1843-1872
- animal manures, carbon dioxide, ecosystems, eddy covariance, emissions factor, environmental factors, environmental impact, grassland management, grasslands, greenhouse gas emissions, greenhouse gases, methane, nitrous oxide, plowing, prediction, soil, Central European region
- Central European grasslands are characterized by a wide range of different management practices in close geographical proximity. Site‐specific management strategies strongly affect the biosphere–atmosphere exchange of the three greenhouse gases (GHG) carbon dioxide (CO₂), nitrous oxide (N₂O), and methane (CH₄). The evaluation of environmental impacts at site level is challenging, because most in situ measurements focus on the quantification of CO₂ exchange, while long‐term N₂O and CH₄ flux measurements at ecosystem scale remain scarce. Here, we synthesized ecosystem CO₂, N₂O, and CH₄ fluxes from 14 managed grassland sites, quantified by eddy covariance or chamber techniques. We found that grasslands were on average a CO₂ sink (−1,783 to −91 g CO₂ m⁻² year⁻¹), but a N₂O source (18–638 g CO₂‐eq. m⁻² year⁻¹), and either a CH₄ sink or source (−9 to 488 g CO₂‐eq. m⁻² year⁻¹). The net GHG balance (NGB) of nine sites where measurements of all three GHGs were available was found between −2,761 and −58 g CO₂‐eq. m⁻² year⁻¹, with N₂O and CH₄ emissions offsetting concurrent CO₂ uptake by on average 21 ± 6% across sites. The only positive NGB was found for one site during a restoration year with ploughing. The predictive power of soil parameters for N₂O and CH₄ fluxes was generally low and varied considerably within years. However, after site‐specific data normalization, we identified environmental conditions that indicated enhanced GHG source/sink activity (“sweet spots”) and gave a good prediction of normalized overall fluxes across sites. The application of animal slurry to grasslands increased N₂O and CH₄ emissions. The N₂O‐N emission factor across sites was 1.8 ± 0.5%, but varied considerably at site level among the years (0.1%–8.6%). Although grassland management led to increased N₂O and CH₄ emissions, the CO₂ sink strength was generally the most dominant component of the annual GHG budget.