Plant and Soil

, Volume 198, Issue 1, pp 89–95 | Cite as

Soil gas fluxes of N2O, CH4 and CO2 beneath Lolium perenne under elevated CO2: The Swiss free air carbon dioxide enrichment experiment

  • P. Ineson
  • P.A. Coward
  • U.A. Hartwig


Fluxes of nitrous oxide, methane and carbon dioxide were measured from soils under ambient (350 µL L-1) and enhanced (600 µL L-1) carbon dioxide partial pressures (pCO2) at the ‘Free Air Carbon Dioxide Enrichment’ (FACE) experiment, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH), Eschikon, Switzerland in July 1995, using a GC housed in a mobile laboratory. Measurements were made in plots of Lolium perenne maintained under high N input. During the data collection period N fertiliser was applied at a rate of 14 g m-2 of N. Elevated pCO2 appeared to result in an increased (27%) output of N2O, thought to be the consequence of enhanced root-derived available soil C, acting as an energy source for denitrification. The climate, agricultural practices and soils at the FACE experiment combined to give rise to some of the largest N2O emissions recorded for any terrestrial ecosystem. The amount of CO2–C being lost from the control plot was higher (10%) than for the enhanced CO2 plot, and is the reverse of that predicted. The control plot oxidised consistently more CH4 than the enhanced plot, oxidising 25.5 ± 0.8 µg m-2 hr-1 of CH4 for the control plot, with an average of 8.5 ± 0.4 µg m-2 hr-1 of CH4 for the enhanced CO2 plot. This suggests that elevated pCO2 may lead to a feedback whereby less CH4 is removed from the atmosphere. Despite the limited nature of the current study (in time and space), the observations made here on the interactions of elevated pCO2 and soil trace gas release suggest that significant interactions are occurring. The feedbacks involved could have importance at the global scale.

carbon dioxide elevated CO2 FACE methane nitrous oxide trace gas 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Ineson
    • 1
    • 1
  • P.A. Coward
    • 1
  • U.A. Hartwig
    • 2
  1. 1.Merlewood Research StationInstitute of Terrestrial EcologyCumbriaUK
  2. 2.Eidgenössische Technische HochschuleInstitut für PflanzenwissenschaftenZürichSwitzerland

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