Plant and Soil

, Volume 342, Issue 1–2, pp 345–357 | Cite as

Soil nitrous oxide emissions from a typical semiarid temperate steppe in inner Mongolia: effects of mineral nitrogen fertilizer levels and forms

  • Qin Peng
  • Yuchun Qi
  • Yunshe DongEmail author
  • Shengsheng Xiao
  • Yating He
Regular Article


Nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions can be significantly affected by the amounts and forms of nitrogen (N) available in soils, but the effect is highly dependent on local climate and soil conditions in specific ecosystem. To improve our understanding of the response of N2O emissions to different N sources of fertilizer in a typical semiarid temperate steppe in Inner Mongolia, a 2-year field experiment was conducted to investigate the effects of high, medium and low N fertilizer levels (HN: 200 kg N ha-1y-1, MN: 100 kg N ha-1y-1, and LN: 50 kg N ha-1y-1) respectively and N fertilizer forms (CAN: calcium ammonium nitrate, AS: ammonium sulphate and NS: sodium nitrate) on N2O emissions using static closed chamber method. Our data showed that peak N2O fluxes induced by N treatments were concentrated in short periods (2 to 3 weeks) after fertilization in summer and in soil thawing periods in early spring; there were similarly low N2O fluxes from all treatments in the remaining seasons of the year. The three N levels increased annual N2O emissions significantly (P < 0.05) in the order of MN > HN > LN compared with the CK (control) treatment in year 1; in year 2, the elevation of annual N2O emissions was significant (P < 0.05) by HN and MN treatments but was insignificant by LN treatments (P > 0.05). The three N forms also had strong effects on N2O emissions. Significantly (P < 0.05) higher annual N2O emissions were observed in the soils of CAN and AS fertilizer treatments than in the soils of NS fertilizer treatments in both measured years, but the difference between CAN and AS was not significant (P > 0.05). Annual N2O emission factors (EF) ranged from 0.060 to 0.298% for different N fertilizer treatments in the two observed years, with an overall EF value of 0.125%. The EF values were by far less than the mean default EF proposed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).


Nitrous oxide N level N form Emission factor Grassland 



This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 40730105, 40973057) and the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (Grant No. 2007BAC03A11). We are grateful to the Inner Mongolia Grassland Ecosystem Research Station (IMGERS) for providing the experimental sites.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Qin Peng
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yuchun Qi
    • 1
  • Yunshe Dong
    • 1
    Email author
  • Shengsheng Xiao
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yating He
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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