Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems

, Volume 60, Issue 1–3, pp 177–187 | Cite as

Process-based modelling of nitrous oxide emissions from different nitrogen sources in mown grassland

  • Martin Schmid
  • Albrecht Neftel
  • Marcel Riedo
  • Jürg FuhrerEmail author


The process-based Pasture Simulation Model (PaSim 2.5) has been extended to simulate N2O production and emission from grassland caused by nitrogen inputs from different sources. The model was used to assess the influence of management on N2O emissions, such as the effect of shifts in the amount and timing of fertilizer application. Model performance has been tested against season-long field measurements at two different field sites. Simulation results agreed favourably with measured N2O emission and soil air concentrations, except during an extremely wet period at one site when grass growth was very poor. The results of short-term and long-term simulation runs demonstrated the potential of the model to estimate N2O emission factors under various conditions. During the first growing season, simulated emissions from organic fertilizers were lower than from synthetic fertilizers because more of the nitrogen was used to build up soil organic matter. The relative difference between the fertilizer types became larger with increasing application rate. The difference between fertilizer types was smaller at steady-state when higher soil organic matter content from repeated application of organic fertilizer over time led to enhanced mineralization and N2O emissions. The dependence of simulated N2O emissions on N input was close to linear at low, but non-linear at high fertilization rates. Emission factors calculated from the linear part of the curve suggested that the factors used in the current IPCC method underestimate the long-term effects of changes in fertilizer management. Furthermore the simulations show that N2O emissions caused by nitrogen inputs from the decomposition of harvest losses and from biological fixation in grassland can be considerable and should not be neglected in national emission inventories.

emission factors grassland nitrogen cycle nitrous oxide process-based model 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Boller BC & Nösberger J (1987) Symbiotically fixed nitrogen from field-grown white and red clover mixed with ryegrasses at low levels of 15N-fertilization. Plant Soil 104: 219–226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bouwman AF (1996) Direct emission of nitrous oxide from agricultural soils. Nutr. Cycl. Agroecosyst. 46: 53–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bremner JM (1997) Sources of nitrous oxide in soils. Nutr Cycl Agroecosyst 49: 7–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chadwick DR., Pain BF & Brookman SKE (2000) Nitrous oxide and methane emissions following application of animal manures to grassland. J Environ Qual 29: 277–287Google Scholar
  5. Cho CM, Burton DL & Chang C (1997) Kinetic formulation of oxygen consumption and denitrification processes in soil. Can J Soil Sci 77: 253–260Google Scholar
  6. Eichner MJ (1990) Nitrous oxide emissions from fertilized soils: summary of available data. J Environ Qual 19: 272–280Google Scholar
  7. Frolking SE, Mosier AR, Ojima DS, Li C, Parton WJ, Potter CS, Priesack E, Stenger R, Haberbosch C, Dörsch P, Flessa H & Smith KA (1998) Comparison of N2O emissions from soils at three temperate agricultural sites: simulations of yearround measurements by four models. Nutr Cycl Agroecosyst 52: 77–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Granli T & Bøckman OC (1994) Nitrous oxide from agriculture. Norwegian J Agricult Sci, Supplement 12Google Scholar
  9. Gut UA (1998) Characterisation of the soil-atmosphere exchange fluxes of nitric oxide. PhD thesis No 12694, ETH Zurich, SwitzerlandGoogle Scholar
  10. Hansen S, Jensen HE, Nielsen NE & Svendsen H (1991) Simulation of nitrogen dynamics and biomass production in winter wheat using the Danish simulation model DAISY. Fert Res 27: 245–259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. IPCC/OECD/IEA (1996) Reference Manual. Revised 1996 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories, Vol 3. Bracknell: UK Meteorological OfficeGoogle Scholar
  12. Jørgensen RN, Jørgensen BJ & Nielsen NE (1998) N2O emission immediately after rainfall in a dry stubble field. Soil Biol Biochem 30: 545–546CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Klemedtsson L, Hansson G & Mosier AR (1990) The use of acetylene for the quantification of N2 and N2O production from biological processes in soil. In: Revsbech NP & Sørensen J (eds) Denitrification in Soil and Sediment, pp 167–180. New York: Plenum PressGoogle Scholar
  14. Marchetti R, Donatelli M & Spallacci P (1997) Testing denitrification functions of dynamic crop models. J Environ Qual 26: 394–401CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. McTaggart IP, Douglas JT, Clayton H & Smith KA (1997) Nitrous oxide emission from slurry and mineral fertilizer applied to grassland. In: Jarvis SC & Pain BF (eds) Gaseous Nitrogen Emissions from Grasslands, pp 201–209. Oxon: CAB InternationalGoogle Scholar
  16. Monteith JL & Unsworth MH (1990) Principles of Environmental Physics. London: Edward ArnoldGoogle Scholar
  17. Neftel A, Blatter A, Schmid M, Lehmann B & Tarakanov SV (2000) An experimental determination of the scale length of N2O in the soil of a grassland. J Geophys Res 105: 12,095–12,103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Oenema O, Velthof GL, Yamulki S & Jarvis SC (1997) Nitrous oxide emissions from grazed grassland. Soil Use Manage 13: 288–295Google Scholar
  19. Oenema O, Gebauer G, Rodriguez M, Sapek A, Jarvis SC, Corré WJ & Yamulki S (1998) Controlling nitrous oxide emissions from grassland livestock production systems. Nutr. Cycl. Agroecosyst. 52: 141–149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Parton DW, Schimel DS, Cole CV & Ojima DS (1987) Analysis of factors controlling soil organic matter levels in Great Plains grasslands. Soil Sci Soc Am J 51: 1173–1179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Riedo M, Grub A, Rosset M & Fuhrer J (1998) A pasture simulation model for dry matter production, and fluxes of carbon, nitrogen, water and energy. Ecol Model 105: 141–183CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Riedo M, Gyalistras D & Fuhrer J (1999) Net primary production and carbon stocks in differently managed grasslands: sitespecific sensitivity to an increase in atmospheric CO2 and to climate change. Ecol Model (in press)Google Scholar
  23. Rihm (1996) Critical Loads of Nitrogen and their Exceedances. Eutrophying Atmospheric Deposition. Environmental Series No 275. Bern, Switzerland: Swiss Agency for the Environment, Forests and LandscapeGoogle Scholar
  24. Rudaz AO, Wälti E, Kyburz G, Lehmann P & Fuhrer J (1999) Temporal variation in N2O and N2 fluxes from a permanent pasture in Switzerland in relation to management, soil water content and soil temperature. Agric Ecosyst Environ 73: 83–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Schmid M, Neftel A & Fuhrer J (2000) Lachgasemissionen der schweizerischen Landwirtschaft. Zürich-Reckenholz, Switzerland: Schriftenreihe der FAL No. 33Google Scholar
  26. Schüssler W (1996) Effektive Parameter zur Bestimmung des Gasaustauschs zwischen Boden und Atmosphäre. PhD thesis, University of Heidelberg, GermanyGoogle Scholar
  27. Schwinning S & Parsons AJ (1996) Analysis of the coexistence mechanisms for grasses and legumes in grazing systems. J Ecology 84: 799–813CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Thornley JHM (1998) Grassland Dynamics. An Ecosystem Simulation Model. Oxon: CAB InternationalGoogle Scholar
  29. Walther U, Menzi H, Ryser JP, Flisch R, Jeangros B, Kessler W, Maillard A, Siegenthaler A & Vuilloud PA (1994) Grundlagen für die Düngung im Acker-und Futterbau. Agrarforschung 1: Supplement 1–40Google Scholar
  30. Yamulki S & Jarvis SC (1997) Nitrous oxide emissions from excreta from a simulated grazing pattern and fertilizer application to grassland. In: Jarvis SC & Pain BF (eds) Gaseous Nitrogen Emissions from Grasslands, pp 195–199. Oxon: CAB InternationalGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Schmid
    • 1
  • Albrecht Neftel
    • 1
  • Marcel Riedo
    • 1
  • Jürg Fuhrer
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Federal Research Station for Agroecology and Agriculture (FAL), LiebefeldBernSwitzerland
  2. 2.Federal Research Station for Agroecology and Agriculture (FAL), LiebefeldBernSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations