Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 89, Issue 2, pp 267–277 | Cite as

Soil CO2 flux in an alley-cropping system composed of black locust and poplar trees, Germany

  • T. V. MedinskiEmail author
  • D. Freese
  • C. Böhm


Understanding of soil carbon dynamics after establishment of alley-cropping systems is crucial for mitigation of greenhouse CO2 gas. This study investigates soil CO2 fluxes in an alley-cropping system composed of tree strips of black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia L.) and poplar (Populus nigra × P. maximowiczii, Max 1) trees and adjacent to them crop strips (Lupinus/Solarigol). Soil CO2 flux was measured monthly over a period from March to November 2012, using a LI-COR LI-8100A automated device. Concurrently with CO2 flux measurements, soil and air temperature, soil moisture, microbial C and hot water-extractable C were determined for the soils nearby soil collars. Root biomass was determined to a depth of 15 cm. In all sampling areas, soil CO2 flux increased from May to July, showing a significant positive correlation with air and soil temperature, which can be a reflection of increase in photosynthesis, and therefore supply of carbohydrates from leaves to rhizosphere, over the warm summer months. A positive correlation between CO2 flux and soil moisture over the warm period indicates an enhancing role of soil moisture on microbial mineralization and root respiration. Average CO2 flux values observed over March–November period did not differ significantly between sampling areas, showing 2.5, 3.2, and 2.9 µmol m−2 s−1 values for black locust, poplar and crops, respectively. Significantly higher CO2 flux values over the summer period in trees could be attributed to the higher photosynthetic activity and higher root density compared to crops.


Soil respiration Soil temperature and moisture Microbial C Hot water-extractable C Root biomass 



This study was supported by the German Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (Project “AgroForstEnergie II”, project number: 22000312), and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Project “INKA BB”, project number: 01LR0803D). The authors extend their grateful thanks to the farm company AG Forst e.V. for allowing measurements and soil sampling, as well as to technical assistants Sebastian Heller and Katja Westphal, for the help with field measurements and laboratory analyses.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chair of Soil Protection and RecultivationBrandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-SenftenbergCottbusGermany

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