Impacts of land management on fluxes of trace greenhouse gases

  • Smith K
  • Conen F
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Abstract

Land use change and land management practices affect the net emissions of the trace gases methane (CH 4) and nitrous oxide (N 2 O), as well as carbon sources and sinks. Changes in CH 4 and N 2 O emissions can substantially alter the overall greenhouse gas balance of a system. Drainage of peatlands for agriculture or forestry generally increases N 2 O emission as well as that of CO 2 , but also decreases CH 4 emission. Intermittent drainage or late ¯ooding of rice paddies can greatly diminish the seasonal emission of CH 4 compared with continuous ¯ooding. Changes in N 2 O emissions following land use change from forest or grassland to agriculture vary between climatic zones, and the net impact varies with time. In many soils, the increase in carbon sequestration by adopting no-till systems may be largely negated by associated increases in N 2 O emission. The promotion of carbon credits for the no-till system before we have better quanti®cation of its net greenhouse gas balance is naõ Ève. Applying nitrogen fertilizers to forests could increase the forest carbon sink, but may be accompanied by a net increase in N 2 O; conversely, adding lime to acid forest soils can decrease the N 2 O emission. L and use change and land management practices have implications not only for their effects on carbon sources and sinks, but also for their impacts on the net emissions of the other two biogenic trace gases, methane and nitrous oxide, into the atmosphere. Although the atmospheric concentrations of CH 4 and N 2 O are much lower than that of CO 2 ± about 1.7 mmol mol ±1

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Authors

  • K. A. Smith

  • K. A. Smith

  • F. Conen

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