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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Nitrate Losses from Organic Soils in Dairy Farming Systems in Northern Germany

Location: Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research

2012 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Quantify and assess the management-related effect on greenhouse gas emissions from peat soils.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Measurements will be conducted at typical fen forage production sites (plus reference site) representing a ground water table gradient: a. intensively managed grassland (2-3 cuts followed by 1-2 grazing cycles) N fertilization: approximately 200 kg/ha/year, groundwater table during the growing season greater than 60 cm below soil surface b. extensively managed grassland (pasture), no additional N fertilization, groundwater table 30–50 cm below soil surface c. reference site: restored fen, no agricultural management, groundwater table 0 – 30 cm below soil surface d. ploughing up grassland (intensively managed) to maize (“worst case scenario”) At each site, gas fluxes of CO2, N2O, and CH4 as well as nitrate leaching will be measured. The quantification of leaching N-losses will be done by suckling cups. Emission of greenhouse gases will be measured by the ‘Eddy-Covariance, EC’ (CO2) and the ‘Closed Chamber, CC’ (N2O, CH4) method. In 2011, installation of a first EC-tower at one of the fen sites (i.e. intensively managed grassland) will be implemented to acquaint local scientists with installation, operation, and data management of EC systems. After the first successful implementation, two additional EC towers will be deployed at two of the remaining experimental fen sites in 2012. Year-round measurements lasting for at least 2 years will be collected from all three sites.


3.Progress Report:

Carbon flux data were collected throughout the year at the reference, restored fen, site. Data for 2011 were quality controlled and gap filled in January 2012. Two additional eddy covariance systems were installed in May 2012, the first on an intensively managed fen site and the second at an intensively managed sandy-soil location. Data are now being collected at all three sites. To monitor progress, an updated database is emailed to the ARS SY on a bi-weekly basis. Other communication is by email and by occasional phone calls. Coordination and training also occurred when ARS personnel traveled to Germany to install the second and third systems.


Last Modified: 8/19/2014
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