, Volume 343, Issue 1-2, pp 109-137
Date: 25 Mar 2011

Carbon, nitrogen and Greenhouse gases budgets over a four years crop rotation in northern France

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Croplands mainly act as net sources of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxide (N2O), as well as nitrogen oxide (NO), a precursor of troposheric ozone. We determined the carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) balance of a four-year crop rotation, including maize, wheat, barley and mustard, to provide a base for exploring mitigation options of net emissions. The crop rotation had a positive net ecosystem production (NEP) of 4.4 ± 0.7 Mg C ha-1 y-1 but represented a net source of carbon with a net biome production (NBP) of -1.3 ± 1.1 Mg C ha-1 y-1. The nitrogen balance of the rotation was correlated with the carbon balance and resulted in net loss (−24 ± 28 kg N ha-1 y-1). The main nitrogen losses were nitrate leaching (−11.7 ±1.0 kg N ha-1 y-1) and ammonia volatilization (−9 kg N ha-1 y-1). Dry and wet depositions were 6.7 ± 3.0 and 5.9 ±0.1 kg N ha-1 y-1, respectively. Fluxes of nitrous (N2O) and nitric (NO) oxides did not contribute significantly to the N budget (N2O: -1.8 ± 0.04; NO: -0.7 ± 0.04 kg N ha-1 y-1) but N2O fluxes equaled 16% of the total greenhouse gas balance. The link between the carbon and nitrogen balances are discussed. Longer term experiments would be necessary to capture the trends in the carbon and nitrogen budgets within the variability of agricultural ecosystems.

Responsible Editor: Per Ambus.