Evaluation of greenhouse gas emissions in a Miscanthus sinensis Andersson-dominated semi-natural grassland in Kumamoto, Japan

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Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, ISSN: 0038-0768, Vol: 62, Issue: 1, Page: 80-89

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Yo Toma; Toshihiko Yamada; Fabián G. Fernández; Aya Nishiwaki; Ryusuke Hatano; J. Ryan Stewart
Informa UK Limited
Agricultural and Biological Sciences
article description
Increasing greenhouse gas emissions from anthropogenic activities continue to be a mounting problem worldwide. In the semi-natural Miscanthus sinensis Andersson; grasslands of Aso, Kumamoto, Japan, which have been managed for thousands of years, we measured soil methane (CH) and nitrous oxide (NO) emissions before and after annual controlled burns. We estimated annual soil carbon (C) accumulation, and CHand NO emissions induced by biomass burning in 2009 and 2010, to determine the impacts of this ecosystem and its management on global warming. Environmental factors affecting soil CHand NO fluxes were unknown, with no effect of annual burning observed on short-term soil CHand NO emissions. However, deposition of charcoal during burning may have enhanced CHoxidation and NO consumption at the study site, given that emissions (CH: −4.33 kg C hayr, NO: 0.17 kg N hayr) were relatively lower than those measured in other land-use types. Despite significant emission of CHand NO during yearly burning events in early spring, the M. sinensis semi-natural grassland had a large annual soil C accumulation, which resulted in a global warming potential of −4.86 Mg COeq hayr. Consequently, our results indicate that long-term maintenance of semi-natural M. sinensis grasslands by annual burning can contribute to the mitigation of global warming.