, Volume 39, Issue 2, pp 207-224

Aspects of carbon and nitrogen cycling in soils of the Bornhöved Lake district II. Modelling the influence of temperature increase on soil respiration and organic carbon content in arable soils under different managements

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Abstract

Based on field measurements in two agriculturalecosystems, soil respiration and long-term response ofsoil organic carbon content (SOC) was modelled. Themodel predicts the influence of temperature increaseas well as the effects of land-use over a period ofthirty years in a northern German glacial morainelandscape. One of the fields carried a maizemonoculture treated with cattle slurry in addition tomineral fertilizer (“maize monoculture”), the otherwas managed by crop rotation and recieved organicmanure (“crop rotation”). The soils of both fieldswere classified as cambic Arenosols. The soilrespiration was measured in the fields by means of theopen dynamic inverted-box method and an infrared gasanalyser. The mean annual soil respiration rates were 268 (maizemonoculture) and 287 mg CO2 m-2 h-1(crop rotation). Factors controlling soil respirationwere soil temperature, soil moisture, root respirationand carbon input into the soil. Q10-valuesof soil respiration were generally higher in winterthan in summer. This trend is interpreted as anadaptive response of the soil microbial communities.In the model a novel mathematical approach withvariable Q10-values as a result oftemperature and moisture adjustment is proposed. Withthe calibrated model soil respiration and SOC werecalculated for both fields and simulations over aperiod of thirty years were established. Simulationswere based on (1) local climatic data, 1961 until1990, and (2) a regional climate scenario for northernGermany with an average temperature increase of 2.1 K.Over the thirty years period with present climateconditions, the SOC pool under “crop rotation” wasnearly stable due to the higher carbon inputs, whereasabout 16 t C ha-1 were lost under “maizemonoculture”. Under global warming the mean annualsoil respiration for both fields increased and SOCdecreased by ca. 10 t C ha-1 under “croprotation” and by more than 20 t C ha-1 under“maize monoculture”. It was shown that overestimationof carbon losses in long-term prognoses can be avoidedby including a Q10-adjustment in soilrespiration models.