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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 72 No. 5, p. 1363-1369
     
    Received: Oct 12, 2007
    Published: Sept, 2008


    * Corresponding author(s): rochettep@agr.gc.ca
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doi:10.2136/sssaj2007.0371

Nitrous Oxide Emissions Respond Differently to No-Till in a Loam and a Heavy Clay Soil

  1. Philippe Rochette *,
  2. Denis A. Angers,
  3. Martin H. Chantigny and
  4. Normand Bertrand
  1. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 2560, Hochelaga Blvd., Québec City, QC, Canada, G1V 2J3

Abstract

The anticipated benefits of increased soil C stocks on net soil-surface greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions after adoption of soil conservation practices can be offset by increases in soil N2O emissions. The objective of this study was to assess the short-term impacts of no-till (NT) on soil N2O emissions. The study was conducted in eastern Canada in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th yr after initiation of NT and fall moldboard plowing (MP) on heavy clay and gravelly loam soils. Annual emissions of N2O were exceptionally high in the heavy clay soil, varying from 12 to 45 kg N2O-N ha−1 during the 3 yr of the study. Such high emissions were probably not associated with fertilizer N inputs but rather with denitrification sustained by the decomposition of large soil organic matter stocks (192 Mg C ha−1 in the top 0.5 m). On average, NT more than doubled N2O emissions compared with MP in the heavy clay soil. The influence of plowing on N2O flux in the heavy clay soil was probably the result of increased soil porosity that maintained soil aeration and water content at levels restricting denitrification and N2O production in the top 0.20 m. In the loam soil, average emissions during the 3 yr were similar in the NT and MP plots. The results of this study indicate that the potential of NT for decreasing net GHG emissions may be limited in fine-textured soils rich in organic matter that are prone to high water content and reduced aeration.

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