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Title: CO 2 uptake is offset by CH 4 and N 2O emissions in a poplar short-rotation coppice

The need for renewable energy sources will lead to a considerable expansion in the planting of dedicated fast-growing biomass crops across Europe. These are commonly cultivated as short-rotation coppice (SRC), and currently poplar ( Populus spp.) is the most widely planted. In this study, we report the greenhouse gas (GHG) fluxes of carbon dioxide (CO 2), methane (CH 4) and nitrous oxide (N 2O) measured using eddy covariance technique in an SRC plantation for bioenergy production. Measurements were made during the period 2010–2013, that is, during the first two rotations of the SRC. The overall GHG balance of the 4 years of the study was an emission of 1.90 (±1.37) Mg CO 2eq ha -1; this indicated that soil trace gas emissions offset the CO 2 uptake by the plantation. CH 4 and N 2O contributed almost equally to offset the CO 2 uptake of -5.28 (±0.67) Mg CO2eq ha -1 with an overall emission of 3.56 (±0.35) Mg CO 2eq ha -1 of N 2O and of 3.53 (±0.85) Mg CO 2eq ha-1 of CH 4. N 2O emissions mostly occurred during one single peak a few months after the site was converted to SRC; this peak comprised 44%more » of the total N 2O loss during the two rotations. Accurately capturing emission events proved to be critical for deriving correct estimates of the GHG balance. The nitrogen (N) content of the soil and the water table depth were the two drivers that best explained the variability in N 2O and CH 4, respectively. Here, this study underlines the importance of the ‘non-CO 2 GHGs’ on the overall balance. Further long-term investigations of soil trace gas emissions should monitor the N content and the mineralization rate of the soil, as well as the microbial community, as drivers of the trace gas emissions.« less
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  1. Univ. of Antwerp, Wilrijk (Belgium)
  2. Univ. of Sheffield, Sheffield (United Kingdom)
  3. Michigan State Univ., Hickory Corners, MI (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Global Change Biology. Bioenergy
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 8; Journal Issue: 3; Journal ID: ISSN 1757-1693
Research Org:
Univ. of Antwerp, Wilrijk (Belgium); University of Wisconsin
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; bioenergy crops; greenhouse gas balance; self-organizing map; soil nitrogen; bioenergy crops, greenhouse gas balance, self-organizing map, soil nitrogen
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1401622; OSTI ID: 1438212