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Short-term effect of tillage intensity on N2O and CO2 emissions

Pascal Boeckx (UGent) , Katja Van Nieuland (UGent) and Oswald Van Cleemput (UGent)
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Biotechnology for a sustainable economy (Bio-Economy)
Abstract
The effect of tillage on the overall greenhouse gas balance of croplands is not clear. It has been suggested that ceasing tillage increases C sequestration, but has the risk of enhancing N(2)O emission, which could switch the greenhouse gas balance from negative to positive. We studied the short-term effect of tillage intensity on N(2)O and CO(2) emissions. We changed reduced tillage to conventional tillage or no tillage and performed two tillage operations in two growing seasons. All other parameters such as agricultural management, climate, and crop type at the study site, an intermediately aerated Luvisol in Belgium, were similar. Nitrous oxide and CO(2) emissions were measured event-directed about 40 times per year from September 2006 until December 2008 using a closed chamber technique. We did not observe any significant short-term effect of tillage intensity on N(2)O emissions during the 2 years following tillage conversion. The 2-year aggregated N(2)O emission was not affected by the absence of tillage, 5.6 kg N(2)O-N ha(-1), compared to conventional tillage, 4.6 +/- 0.9 kg N(2)O-N ha(-1), or reduced tillage, 4.7 +/- 0.3 kg N2O-N ha-1. Enhanced N(2)O emission events in the absence of tillage, 1 year after conversion, could be explained by the combination of higher N application and wetter conditions. Conversion to conventional tillage caused a small, but significant, increase in CO(2) emission over the same period. We conclude that in the short term, none of the tillage intensities had an effect on N(2)O emission, and the effect on CO(2) emission was slightly positive when tillage intensity increased. A low short-term risk of increased N(2)O emission in the absence of tillage in well-aerated croplands is beneficial agro-environmentally, but the long-term effect should also be assessed via follow-up studies.
Keywords
Emission, WFPS, Nitrous oxide, Tillage, Luvisol, NITROUS-OXIDE, GRASSLAND SOIL, NO-TILLAGE, LONG-TERM, DENITRIFICATION, MANAGEMENT, SYSTEMS, FLUXES, SPACE

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Chicago
Boeckx, Pascal, Katja Van Nieuland, and Oswald Van Cleemput. 2011. “Short-term Effect of Tillage Intensity on N2O and CO2 Emissions.” Agronomy for Sustainable Development 31 (3): 453–461.
APA
Boeckx, P., Van Nieuland, K., & Van Cleemput, O. (2011). Short-term effect of tillage intensity on N2O and CO2 emissions. AGRONOMY FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, 31(3), 453–461.
Vancouver
1.
Boeckx P, Van Nieuland K, Van Cleemput O. Short-term effect of tillage intensity on N2O and CO2 emissions. AGRONOMY FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT. 2011;31(3):453–61.
MLA
Boeckx, Pascal, Katja Van Nieuland, and Oswald Van Cleemput. “Short-term Effect of Tillage Intensity on N2O and CO2 Emissions.” AGRONOMY FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT 31.3 (2011): 453–461. Print.
@article{2036074,
  abstract     = {The effect of tillage on the overall greenhouse gas balance of croplands is not clear. It has been suggested that ceasing tillage increases C sequestration, but has the risk of enhancing N(2)O emission, which could switch the greenhouse gas balance from negative to positive. We studied the short-term effect of tillage intensity on N(2)O and CO(2) emissions. We changed reduced tillage to conventional tillage or no tillage and performed two tillage operations in two growing seasons. All other parameters such as agricultural management, climate, and crop type at the study site, an intermediately aerated Luvisol in Belgium, were similar. Nitrous oxide and CO(2) emissions were measured event-directed about 40 times per year from September 2006 until December 2008 using a closed chamber technique. We did not observe any significant short-term effect of tillage intensity on N(2)O emissions during the 2 years following tillage conversion. The 2-year aggregated N(2)O emission was not affected by the absence of tillage, 5.6 kg N(2)O-N ha(-1), compared to conventional tillage, 4.6 +/- 0.9 kg N(2)O-N ha(-1), or reduced tillage, 4.7 +/- 0.3 kg N2O-N ha-1. Enhanced N(2)O emission events in the absence of tillage, 1 year after conversion, could be explained by the combination of higher N application and wetter conditions. Conversion to conventional tillage caused a small, but significant, increase in CO(2) emission over the same period. We conclude that in the short term, none of the tillage intensities had an effect on N(2)O emission, and the effect on CO(2) emission was slightly positive when tillage intensity increased. A low short-term risk of increased N(2)O emission in the absence of tillage in well-aerated croplands is beneficial agro-environmentally, but the long-term effect should also be assessed via follow-up studies.},
  author       = {Boeckx, Pascal and Van Nieuland, Katja and Van Cleemput, Oswald},
  issn         = {1774-0746},
  journal      = {AGRONOMY FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT},
  keyword      = {Emission,WFPS,Nitrous oxide,Tillage,Luvisol,NITROUS-OXIDE,GRASSLAND SOIL,NO-TILLAGE,LONG-TERM,DENITRIFICATION,MANAGEMENT,SYSTEMS,FLUXES,SPACE},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {453--461},
  title        = {Short-term effect of tillage intensity on N2O and CO2 emissions},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13593-011-0001-9},
  volume       = {31},
  year         = {2011},
}

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