, 89:329 | Cite as

Fluxes of greenhouse gases from Andosols under coffee in monoculture or shaded by Inga densiflora in Costa Rica

  • Kristell Hergoualc’hEmail author
  • Ute Skiba
  • Jean-Michel Harmand
  • Catherine Hénault
Original Paper


The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of N fertilization and the presence of N2 fixing leguminous trees on soil fluxes of greenhouse gases. For a one year period, we measured soil fluxes of nitrous oxide (N2O), carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4), related soil parameters (temperature, water-filled pore space, mineral nitrogen content, N mineralization potential) and litterfall in two highly fertilized (250 kg N ha−1 year−1) coffee cultivation: a monoculture (CM) and a culture shaded by the N2 fixing legume species Inga densiflora (CIn). Nitrogen fertilizer addition significantly influenced N2O emissions with 84% of the annual N2O emitted during the post fertilization periods, and temporarily increased soil respiration and decreased CH4 uptakes. The higher annual N2O emissions from the shaded plantation (5.8 ± 0.3 kg N ha−1 year−1) when compared to that from the monoculture (4.3 ± 0.1 kg N ha−1 year−1) was related to the higher N input through litterfall (246 ± 16 kg N ha−1 year−1) and higher potential soil N mineralization rate (3.7 ± 0.2 mg N kg−1 d.w. d−1) in the shaded cultivation when compared to the monoculture (153 ± 6.8 kg N ha−1 year−1 and 2.2 ± 0.2 mg N kg−1 d.w. d−1). This confirms that the presence of N2 fixing shade trees can increase N2O emissions. Annual CO2 and CH4 fluxes of both systems were similar (8.4 ± 2.6 and 7.5 ± 2.3 t C-CO2 ha−1 year−1, −1.1 ± 1.5 and 3.3 ± 1.1 kg C-CH4 ha−1 year−1, respectively in the CIn and CM plantations) but, unexpectedly increased during the dry season.


Agroforestry CH4 CO2 Mineralization N2Water-filled pore space (WFPS) 



The authors thank ICAFÉ for providing the study site. The laboratory experiment and soil analyses were carried out at CATIE, Costa Rica and gas analysis at CEH, UK. Many thanks to Luis Dioniso, Jonhatan Ramos, Patrice Cannavo and John Parker for the technical assistance and Patricia Leandro for soil analysis. The authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers and Professor G.P. Robertson, who helped with their constructive comments to improve greatly the quality of this manuscript. The European Commission (INCO project CASCA, ICA4-CT-2001-10071) provided part of the costs of this research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristell Hergoualc’h
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Ute Skiba
    • 4
  • Jean-Michel Harmand
    • 1
  • Catherine Hénault
    • 5
  1. 1.Centre de coopération International en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement (CIRAD). UR Ecosystèmes de Plantations, s/c UR SeqBio-IRD (SupAgro)Montpellier Cedex 01France
  2. 2.Departamento de Agricultura y AgroforesteriaCentro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE)TurrialbaCosta Rica
  3. 3.CIFOR ENVBogorIndonesia
  4. 4.Center of Ecology and Hydrology (CEH)PenicuikScotland, UK
  5. 5.Institut National de Recherche en Agronomie (INRA), UMR Microbiologie et Géochimie des SolsDijon CedexFrance

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