Plant and Soil

, Volume 374, Issue 1, pp 883–898

Comparison of methane, nitrous oxide fluxes and CO2 respiration rates from a Mediterranean cork oak ecosystem and improved pasture

Authors

    • Instituto de Tecnologia Química e BiológicaUniversidade Nova de Lisboa
  • Filipe Costa e Silva
    • Instituto Superior de AgronomiaUniversidade Técnica de Lisboa
  • Joaquim Miguel Costa
    • Instituto de Tecnologia Química e BiológicaUniversidade Nova de Lisboa
    • Instituto Superior de AgronomiaUniversidade Técnica de Lisboa
  • Alexandra Correia
    • Instituto Superior de AgronomiaUniversidade Técnica de Lisboa
  • Margaret Anderson
    • Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Natural Environment Research CouncilBush Estate
  • Raquel Lobo-do-Vale
    • Instituto Superior de AgronomiaUniversidade Técnica de Lisboa
  • David Fangueiro
    • Instituto Superior de AgronomiaUniversidade Técnica de Lisboa
  • Catarina Bicho
    • Instituto de Tecnologia Química e BiológicaUniversidade Nova de Lisboa
  • João Santos Pereira
    • Instituto Superior de AgronomiaUniversidade Técnica de Lisboa
  • Maria Manuela Chaves
    • Instituto de Tecnologia Química e BiológicaUniversidade Nova de Lisboa
  • Ute Skiba
    • Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Natural Environment Research CouncilBush Estate
  • Cristina Cruz
    • Faculdade de CiênciasUniversidade de Lisboa
Regular Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11104-013-1923-6

Cite this article as:
Shvaleva, A., Costa e Silva, F., Costa, J.M. et al. Plant Soil (2014) 374: 883. doi:10.1007/s11104-013-1923-6

Abstract

Background and aims

During the recent decades, cork oak (Q. suber) mortality has been increasing in Mediterranean oak woodland endangering the economical and environmental sustainability of the “montado” ecosystem. This fact in combination with climate change and conversion of forestland to pasture may significantly affect the soil-atmosphere greenhouse gases (GHGs) exchange. Our study evaluates the impact of oak trees as compared to pasture on net ecosystem GHG (CH4, N2O, and CO2) exchange as well as the main environmental factors influencing this exchange.

Methods

We used field chamber measurements for the collection of GHGs under three different conditions: 1) open area (OA), 2) under tree canopy area (UC) and 3) improved pasture (IP). Experiments were done under typical Mediterranean climate at central Portugal in 2010 and 2011.

Results

The UC had higher nitrification potential, soil C/N ratio, electrical conductivity, litter input and soil organic matter (SOM) than OA and IP. SOM positively correlated with soil CH4 and N2O fluxes but not with soil CO2 respiration rates. Soil water content (SWC) drives both CH4 and N2O fluxes. Under certain conditions, when SWC reached a threshold (7 % for CH4 and 3 % for N2O) the result was net uptake and that net uptake increased with SWC. This was the case for the UC and OA. Conversely, for the IP soil water content above 4 % promoted net CH4 release.

Conclusions

Our results show that cork oak influences soil properties and consequently GHGs fluxes. In the UC the input of litter for SOM together with soil moisture, favoured microbiological activity and related GHGs fluxes. Soil temperature is a secondary factor in the studied conditions. Our results also emphasized the potential impact posed by decreased cork oak tree density in the functioning of the “montado” ecosystem.

Keywords

Evergreen oakGreenhouse gasesLitterMediterraneanOrganic matterRoot density

Abbreviations

GHG

Greenhouse gases

IP

Improved pasture

OA

Open area

Rs

Soil CO2 respiration rate

SOM

Soil organic matter

UC

Under tree canopy

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013