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Title: Nitrous oxide emissions from a coal mine land reclaimed with stabilized manure

item DUTTA, TANUSHREE - Pennsylvania State University
item Dell, Curtis
item STEHOUWER, RICHARD - Pennsylvania State University

Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Quality
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/6/2015
Publication Date: 8/13/2015
Citation: Dutta, T., Dell, C.J., Stehouwer, R. 2015. Nitrous oxide emissions from a coal mine land reclaimed with stabilized manure. Journal of Environmental Quality. 27:427-437.

Interpretive Summary: The use of manure-based amendments can greatly improve soil conditions for re-establishment of vegetation on restored mine lands, but addition of manure often leads to increased emissions of nitrous oxide (a greenhouse gas). A field study was conducted where nitrous oxide emissions were measured following the addition of either composed poultry manure or a mixture of composed poultry manure and paper mill sludge and compared to emissions following the addition of conventional amendments (lime and ammonium nitrate). Nitrous oxide emissions were low regardless of the type of soil amendment. Because the soils are stony and excessively well-drained, it appears that conditions needed for nitrous oxide production were not created despite addition of manure.

Technical Abstract: Mined land restoration using manure-based amendments may create soil conditions suitable for nitrous oxide production and emission. We measured nitrous oxide emissions from mine soil amended with composted poultry manure (Comp) or poultry manure mixed with paper mill sludge (Man+PMS) at C/N ratios of 14, 21, and 28 and from conventionally (lime and ammonium nitrate) amended and non-amended mine soil at a reclaimed surface coal mine in Clearfield Co., PA. Soil–atmosphere exchange of nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide was determined from 16 June to 14 September in 2009 (90 d) and from 28 June to 9 November in 2010 (134 d) using static vented chambers on an extremely well drained soil system with 59 percent coarse fragments at ambient and increased moisture (water added) content. Potential denitrification of amended and non-amended mine soil was determined in a laboratory incubation. While non-amended mine soil did not have a measurable potential for denitrifying activity, the manure-based amendments introduced denitrification potential and increased labile inorganic N and carbon dioxide respiration activity. Soil moisture content was less than 60 percent on most sampling days in both ambient and water-added soil plots. Daily nitrous oxide -N emissions from mine soil amended with manure-based materials ranged between 40-70 g N ha per ha with cumulative emissions of 2-10 kg N per ha representing less than 1 percent loss of applied N. Our findings show that manure based amendments restore soil nutrient status, microbial activity and the potential for denitrification, but in-situ denitrification is limited when such soils are excessively well-drained and reducing conditions rarely develop.