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Title: Ecosystem carbon exchange on conversion of Conservation Reserve Program grasslands to annual and perennial cropping systems

Abstract

Land use changes into and out of agricultural production may substantially influence ecosystem carbon (C) balance for many years. We examined ecosystem C balances for eight years after the conversion of 22 year-old Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) grasslands and formerly tilled agricultural fields (AGR) to annual (continuous no-till corn) and perennial (switchgrass and restored prairie) cropland. An unconverted CRP field (CRP-Ref) was maintained as a historical reference. Ecosystem C balance was assessed using adjusted net ecosystem carbon exchange (NEEadj) calculated by adding C removed in harvested biomass to NEE measured using eddy covariance method. The cumulative NEE adj of the corn and perennial systems on former CRP fields showed that these systems were a net C source to the atmosphere over the 8-year period while on former AGR fields, the perennial systems were net C sinks and the corn system near-neutral. The CRP-Ref was near neutral until a drought year when it became a net source. The corn system on the CRP field will likely reach a new lower soil C equilibrium at least 14 years after conversion but will never regain the C lost upon conversion under current no-till management with residue partially removed. On the other hand, themore » perennial systems could fully regain in ~14 years the C lost following conversion. The cumulative NEEadj of the corn systems exhibited a higher C emission than did the perennial systems within the same land use histories, reflecting the dominant role of crop type and management in agricultural ecosystem C balance. Results suggest that converting croplands to grasslands results in immediate C gains whereas converting grasslands to croplands results in permanent (no-till corn with partial residue removal) or temporary (perennial herbaceous crops) net C loss to the atmosphere. Lastly, this has a significant implications for global climate change mitigation where biomass production from annual and perennial crops is promoted to avoid fossil-fuel C emissions (biofuel) or to remove CO 2 from the atmosphere (bioenergy C capture and storage).« less

Authors:
; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI (United States). Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
Contributing Org.:
NSF Long-term Ecological Research Program at the Kellogg Biological Station, and Michigan State University AgBioResearch
OSTI Identifier:
1437831
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1459360
Grant/Contract Number:  
ACO5-76RL01830; SC0018409
Resource Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Agricultural and Forest Meteorology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Agricultural and Forest Meteorology Journal Volume: 253-254 Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 0168-1923
Publisher:
Elsevier
Country of Publication:
Netherlands
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; Eddy covariance; Net ecosystem exchange; Land use change; Corn; Switchgrass; Restored prairie; Climate change mitigation

Citation Formats

Abraha, Michael, Hamilton, Stephen K., Chen, Jiquan, and Robertson, G. Philip. Ecosystem carbon exchange on conversion of Conservation Reserve Program grasslands to annual and perennial cropping systems. Netherlands: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1016/j.agrformet.2018.02.016.
Abraha, Michael, Hamilton, Stephen K., Chen, Jiquan, & Robertson, G. Philip. Ecosystem carbon exchange on conversion of Conservation Reserve Program grasslands to annual and perennial cropping systems. Netherlands. doi:10.1016/j.agrformet.2018.02.016.
Abraha, Michael, Hamilton, Stephen K., Chen, Jiquan, and Robertson, G. Philip. Tue . "Ecosystem carbon exchange on conversion of Conservation Reserve Program grasslands to annual and perennial cropping systems". Netherlands. doi:10.1016/j.agrformet.2018.02.016.
@article{osti_1437831,
title = {Ecosystem carbon exchange on conversion of Conservation Reserve Program grasslands to annual and perennial cropping systems},
author = {Abraha, Michael and Hamilton, Stephen K. and Chen, Jiquan and Robertson, G. Philip},
abstractNote = {Land use changes into and out of agricultural production may substantially influence ecosystem carbon (C) balance for many years. We examined ecosystem C balances for eight years after the conversion of 22 year-old Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) grasslands and formerly tilled agricultural fields (AGR) to annual (continuous no-till corn) and perennial (switchgrass and restored prairie) cropland. An unconverted CRP field (CRP-Ref) was maintained as a historical reference. Ecosystem C balance was assessed using adjusted net ecosystem carbon exchange (NEEadj) calculated by adding C removed in harvested biomass to NEE measured using eddy covariance method. The cumulative NEEadj of the corn and perennial systems on former CRP fields showed that these systems were a net C source to the atmosphere over the 8-year period while on former AGR fields, the perennial systems were net C sinks and the corn system near-neutral. The CRP-Ref was near neutral until a drought year when it became a net source. The corn system on the CRP field will likely reach a new lower soil C equilibrium at least 14 years after conversion but will never regain the C lost upon conversion under current no-till management with residue partially removed. On the other hand, the perennial systems could fully regain in ~14 years the C lost following conversion. The cumulative NEEadj of the corn systems exhibited a higher C emission than did the perennial systems within the same land use histories, reflecting the dominant role of crop type and management in agricultural ecosystem C balance. Results suggest that converting croplands to grasslands results in immediate C gains whereas converting grasslands to croplands results in permanent (no-till corn with partial residue removal) or temporary (perennial herbaceous crops) net C loss to the atmosphere. Lastly, this has a significant implications for global climate change mitigation where biomass production from annual and perennial crops is promoted to avoid fossil-fuel C emissions (biofuel) or to remove CO2 from the atmosphere (bioenergy C capture and storage).},
doi = {10.1016/j.agrformet.2018.02.016},
journal = {Agricultural and Forest Meteorology},
number = C,
volume = 253-254,
place = {Netherlands},
year = {2018},
month = {5}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record
DOI: 10.1016/j.agrformet.2018.02.016

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Cited by: 2 works
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Works referenced in this record:

Data from: Ecosystem carbon exchange on conversion of Conservation Reserve Program grasslands to annual and perennial cropping systems
dataset, February 2018

  • Abraha, M.; Hamilton, S. K.; Chen, J.
  • Net Ecosystem Exchange and C in harvest, 20.03 Kb
  • DOI: 10.5061/dryad.sc41rn3