Measured and simulated nitrous oxide emissions from ryegrass- and ryegrass/white clover-based grasslands in a moist temperate climate

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Abstract

There is uncertainty about the potential reduction of soil nitrous oxide (N 2O) emission when fertilizer nitrogen (FN) is partially or completely replaced by biological N fixation (BNF) in temperate grassland. The objectives of this study were to 1) investigate the changes in N 2O emissions when BNF is used to replace FN in permanent grassland, and 2) evaluate the applicability of the process-based model DNDC to simulate N 2O emissions from Irish grasslands. Three grazing treatments were: (i) ryegrass (Lolium perenne) grasslands receiving 226 kg FN ha -1 yr -1 (GG+FN), (ii) ryegrass/white clover (Trifolium repens) grasslands receiving 58 kg FN ha -1 yr -1 (GWC+FN) applied in spring, and (iii) ryegrass/white clover grasslands receiving no FN (GWC-FN). Two background treatments, un-grazed swards with ryegrass only (G-B) or ryegrass/white clover (WC-B), did not receive slurry or FN and the herbage was harvested by mowing. There was no significant difference in annual N 2O emissions between G-B (2.38±0.12 kg N ha -1 yr -1 (mean±SE)) and WC-B (2.45±0.85 kg N ha -1 yr -1), indicating that N 2O emission due to BNF itself and clover residual decomposition from permanent ryegrass/clover grassland was negligible. N 2O emissions were 7.82±1.67, 6.35±1.14 and 6.54±1.70 kg N ha -1 yr -1, respectively, from GG+FN, GWC+FN and GWC-FN. N 2O fluxes simulated by DNDC agreed well with the measured values with significant correlation between simulated and measured daily fluxes for the three grazing treatments, but the simulation did not agree very well for the background treatments. DNDC overestimated annual emission by 61% for GG+FN, and underestimated by 45% for GWC-FN, but simulated very well for GWC+FN. Both the measured and simulated results supported that there was a clear reduction of N 2O emissions when FN was replaced by BNF. © 2011 Li et al.

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Li, D., Lanigan, G., & Humphreys, J. (2011). Measured and simulated nitrous oxide emissions from ryegrass- and ryegrass/white clover-based grasslands in a moist temperate climate. PLoS ONE, 6(10). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0026176

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