Articles | Volume 1, issue 2
10 Dec 2015
Forum article | 10 Dec 2015
Mitigating N2O emissions from soil: from patching leaks to transformative action
C. Decock et al.
B. Wolf, L. Merbold, C. Decock, B. Tuzson, E. Harris, J. Six, L. Emmenegger, and J. Mohn
Biogeosciences, 12, 2517–2531,
Charlotte Decock, Juhwan Lee, Matti Barthel, Elizabeth Verhoeven, Franz Conen, and Johan Six
Preprint under review for BGShort summary
One of the least well understood processes in the nitrogen (N) cycle is the loss of nitrogen gas (N2), referred to as total denitrification. This is mainly due to the difficulty of quantifying total denitrification in situ. In this study, we developed and tested a novel modeling approach to estimate total denitrification over the depth profile, based on concentrations and isotope values of N2O. Our method will help close N budgets and identify management strategies that reduce N pollution.
Tegawende Léa Jeanne Ilboudo, Lucien NGuessan Diby, Delwendé Innocent Kiba, Tor Gunnar Vågen, Leigh Ann Winowiecki, Hassan Bismarck Nacro, Johan Six, and Emmanuel Frossard
Our results showed that at landscape level SOC stock variability was mainly explained by clay content. We found significant linear positive relationships between VC and SOC stocks for the land uses annual croplands, perennial croplands, grasslands and bushlands without soil depth restrictions until 110 cm. We concluded that in the forest-savanna transition zone, soil properties and topography determine land use, which in turn affects the stocks of SOC and TN and to some extent the VC stocks.
Kristof Van Oost and Jo Six
Revised manuscript accepted for BGShort summary
The direction and magnitude of the net erosion-induced land-atmosphere C exchange have been the topic of a big scientific debate for more than a decade now. Many have assumed that erosion leads to a loss of soil carbon to the atmosphere, whereas others have shown that erosion ultimately leads to a carbon sink. Here, we show that the soil carbon erosion source-sink paradox is reconciled when the broad range of temporal and spatial scales at which the underlying processes operate are considered.
Philipp Baumann, Juhwan Lee, Emmanuel Frossard, Laurie Paule Schönholzer, Lucien Diby, Valérie Kouamé Hgaza, Delwende Innocent Kiba, Andrew Sila, Keith Sheperd, and Johan Six
SOIL, 7, 717–731,Short summary
This work delivers openly accessible and validated calibrations for diagnosing 26 soil properties based on mid-infrared spectroscopy. These were developed for four regions in Burkina Faso and Côte d'Ivoire, including 80 fields of smallholder farmers. The models can help to site-specifically and cost-efficiently monitor soil quality and fertility constraints to ameliorate soils and yields of yam or other staple crops in the four regions between the humid forest and the northern Guinean savanna.
Laura Summerauer, Philipp Baumann, Leonardo Ramirez-Lopez, Matti Barthel, Marijn Bauters, Benjamin Bukombe, Mario Reichenbach, Pascal Boeckx, Elizabeth Kearsley, Kristof Van Oost, Bernard Vanlauwe, Dieudonné Chiragaga, Aimé Bisimwa Heri-Kazi, Pieter Moonen, Andrew Sila, Keith Shepherd, Basile Bazirake Mujinya, Eric Van Ranst, Geert Baert, Sebastian Doetterl, and Johan Six
SOIL, 7, 693–715,Short summary
We present a soil mid-infrared library with over 1800 samples from central Africa in order to facilitate soil analyses of this highly understudied yet critical area. Together with an existing continental library, we demonstrate a regional analysis and geographical extrapolation to predict total carbon and nitrogen. Our results show accurate predictions and highlight the value that the data contribute to existing libraries. Our library is openly available for public use and for expansion.
Juhwan Lee, Raphael A. Viscarra Rossel, Mingxi Zhang, Zhongkui Luo, and Ying-Ping Wang
Biogeosciences, 18, 5185–5202,Short summary
We performed Roth C simulations across Australia and assessed the response of soil carbon to changing inputs and future climate change using a consistent modelling framework. Site-specific initialisation of the C pools with measurements of the C fractions is essential for accurate simulations of soil organic C stocks and composition at a large scale. With further warming, Australian soils will become more vulnerable to C loss: natural environments > native grazing > cropping > modified grazing.
Sebastian Doetterl, Rodrigue K. Asifiwe, Geert Baert, Fernando Bamba, Marijn Bauters, Pascal Boeckx, Benjamin Bukombe, Georg Cadisch, Matthew Cooper, Landry N. Cizungu, Alison Hoyt, Clovis Kabaseke, Karsten Kalbitz, Laurent Kidinda, Annina Maier, Moritz Mainka, Julia Mayrock, Daniel Muhindo, Basile B. Mujinya, Serge M. Mukotanyi, Leon Nabahungu, Mario Reichenbach, Boris Rewald, Johan Six, Anna Stegmann, Laura Summerauer, Robin Unseld, Bernard Vanlauwe, Kristof Van Oost, Kris Verheyen, Cordula Vogel, Florian Wilken, and Peter Fiener
Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 13, 4133–4153,Short summary
The African Tropics are hotspots of modern-day land use change and are of great relevance for the global carbon cycle. Here, we present data collected as part of the DFG-funded project TropSOC along topographic, land use, and geochemical gradients in the eastern Congo Basin and the Albertine Rift. Our database contains spatial and temporal data on soil, vegetation, environmental properties, and land management collected from 136 pristine tropical forest and cropland plots between 2017 and 2020.
Philipp Baumann, Anatol Helfenstein, Andreas Gubler, Armin Keller, Reto Giulio Meuli, Daniel Wächter, Juhwan Lee, Raphael Viscarra Rossel, and Johan Six
SOIL, 7, 525–546,Short summary
We developed the Swiss mid-infrared spectral library and a statistical model collection across 4374 soil samples with reference measurements of 16 properties. Our library incorporates soil from 1094 grid locations and 71 long-term monitoring sites. This work confirms once again that nationwide spectral libraries with diverse soils can reliably feed information to a fast chemical diagnosis. Our data-driven reduction of the library has the potential to accurately monitor carbon at the plot scale.
Mario Reichenbach, Peter Fiener, Gina Garland, Marco Griepentrog, Johan Six, and Sebastian Doetterl
SOIL, 7, 453–475,Short summary
In deeply weathered tropical rainforest soils of Africa, we found that patterns of soil organic carbon stocks differ between soils developed from geochemically contrasting parent material due to differences in the abundance of organo-mineral complexes, the presence/absence of chemical stabilization mechanisms of carbon with minerals and the presence of fossil organic carbon from sedimentary rocks. Physical stabilization mechanisms by aggregation provide additional protection of soil carbon.
Sophie F. von Fromm, Alison M. Hoyt, Markus Lange, Gifty E. Acquah, Ermias Aynekulu, Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, Stephan M. Haefele, Steve P. McGrath, Keith D. Shepherd, Andrew M. Sila, Johan Six, Erick K. Towett, Susan E. Trumbore, Tor-G. Vågen, Elvis Weullow, Leigh A. Winowiecki, and Sebastian Doetterl
SOIL, 7, 305–332,Short summary
We investigated various soil and climate properties that influence soil organic carbon (SOC) concentrations in sub-Saharan Africa. Our findings indicate that climate and geochemistry are equally important for explaining SOC variations. The key SOC-controlling factors are broadly similar to those for temperate regions, despite differences in soil development history between the two regions.
Anatol Helfenstein, Philipp Baumann, Raphael Viscarra Rossel, Andreas Gubler, Stefan Oechslin, and Johan Six
SOIL, 7, 193–215,Short summary
In this study, we show that a soil spectral library (SSL) can be used to predict soil carbon at new and very different locations. The importance of this finding is that it requires less time-consuming lab work than calibrating a new model for every local application, while still remaining similar to or more accurate than local models. Furthermore, we show that this method even works for predicting (drained) peat soils, using a SSL with mostly mineral soils containing much less soil carbon.
Simon Baumgartner, Marijn Bauters, Matti Barthel, Travis W. Drake, Landry C. Ntaboba, Basile M. Bazirake, Johan Six, Pascal Boeckx, and Kristof Van Oost
SOIL, 7, 83–94,Short summary
We compared stable isotope signatures of soil profiles in different forest ecosystems within the Congo Basin to assess ecosystem-level differences in N cycling, and we examined the local effect of topography on the isotopic signature of soil N. Soil δ15N profiles indicated that the N cycling in in the montane forest is more closed, whereas the lowland forest and Miombo woodland experienced a more open N cycle. Topography only alters soil δ15N values in forests with high erosional forces.
Simon Baumgartner, Matti Barthel, Travis William Drake, Marijn Bauters, Isaac Ahanamungu Makelele, John Kalume Mugula, Laura Summerauer, Nora Gallarotti, Landry Cizungu Ntaboba, Kristof Van Oost, Pascal Boeckx, Sebastian Doetterl, Roland Anton Werner, and Johan Six
Biogeosciences, 17, 6207–6218,Short summary
Soil respiration is an important carbon flux and key process determining the net ecosystem production of terrestrial ecosystems. The Congo Basin lacks studies quantifying carbon fluxes. We measured soil CO2 fluxes from different forest types in the Congo Basin and were able to show that, even though soil CO2 fluxes are similarly high in lowland and montane forests, the drivers were different: soil moisture in montane forests and C availability in the lowland forests.
Long Ho, Ruben Jerves-Cobo, Matti Barthel, Johan Six, Samuel Bode, Pascal Boeckx, and Peter Goethals
Revised manuscript not acceptedShort summary
Rivers are being polluted by human activities, especially in urban areas. We studied the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from an urban river system. The results showed a clear trend between water quality and GHG emissions in which the more polluted the sites were, the higher were their emissions. When river water quality worsened, its contribution to global warming can go up by 10 times. Urban rivers emitted 4-times more than of the amount of GHGs compared to rivers in natural sites.
Marijn Van de Broek, Shiva Ghiasi, Charlotte Decock, Andreas Hund, Samuel Abiven, Cordula Friedli, Roland A. Werner, and Johan Six
Biogeosciences, 17, 2971–2986,Short summary
Four wheat cultivars were labeled with 13CO2 to quantify the effect of rooting depth and root biomass on the belowground transfer of organic carbon. We found no clear relation between the time since cultivar development and the amount of carbon inputs to the soil. Therefore, the hypothesis that wheat cultivars with a larger root biomass and deeper roots promote carbon stabilization was rejected. The amount of root biomass that will be stabilized in the soil on the long term is, however, unknown.
Stephen J. Harris, Jesper Liisberg, Longlong Xia, Jing Wei, Kerstin Zeyer, Longfei Yu, Matti Barthel, Benjamin Wolf, Bryce F. J. Kelly, Dioni I. Cendón, Thomas Blunier, Johan Six, and Joachim Mohn
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 13, 2797–2831,Short summary
The latest commercial laser spectrometers have the potential to revolutionize N2O isotope analysis. However, to do so, they must be able to produce trustworthy data. Here, we test the performance of widely used laser spectrometers for ambient air applications and identify instrument-specific dependencies on gas matrix and trace gas concentrations. We then provide a calibration workflow to facilitate the operation of these instruments in order to generate reproducible and accurate data.
Karl Voglmeier, Johan Six, Markus Jocher, and Christof Ammann
Biogeosciences, 16, 1685–1703,
Tino Colombi, Florian Walder, Lucie Büchi, Marlies Sommer, Kexing Liu, Johan Six, Marcel G. A. van der Heijden, Raphaël Charles, and Thomas Keller
SOIL, 5, 91–105,Short summary
The role of soil aeration in carbon sequestration in arable soils has only been explored little, especially at the farm level. The current study, which was conducted on 30 fields that belong to individual farms, reveals a positive relationship between soil gas transport capability and soil organic carbon content. We therefore conclude that soil aeration needs to be accounted for when developing strategies for carbon sequestration in arable soil.
Elizabeth Verhoeven, Matti Barthel, Longfei Yu, Luisella Celi, Daniel Said-Pullicino, Steven Sleutel, Dominika Lewicka-Szczebak, Johan Six, and Charlotte Decock
Biogeosciences, 16, 383–408,Short summary
This study utilized state-of-the-art measurements of nitrogen isotopes to evaluate nitrogen cycling and to assess the biological sources of the potent greenhouse gas, N2O, in response to water-saving practices in rice systems. Water-saving practices did emit more N2O, and high N2O production had a lower 15N isotope signature. Modeling and visual interpretation indicate that these emissions mostly came from denitrification or nitrifier denitrification, controlled upstream by nitrification rates.
R. Hüppi, R. Felber, A. Neftel, J. Six, and J. Leifeld
SOIL, 1, 707–717,Short summary
Biochar is considered an opportunity to tackle major environmental issues in agriculture. Adding pyrolised organic residues to soil may sequester carbon, increase yields and reduce nitrous oxide emissions from soil. It is unknown, whether the latter is induced by changes in soil pH. We show that biochar application substantially reduces nitrous oxide emissions from a temperate maize cropping system. However, the reduction was only achieved with biochar but not with liming.
M. S. Torn, A. Chabbi, P. Crill, P. J. Hanson, I. A. Janssens, Y. Luo, C. H. Pries, C. Rumpel, M. W. I. Schmidt, J. Six, M. Schrumpf, and B. Zhu
SOIL, 1, 575–582,
B. Wolf, L. Merbold, C. Decock, B. Tuzson, E. Harris, J. Six, L. Emmenegger, and J. Mohn
Biogeosciences, 12, 2517–2531,
S. Doetterl, J.-T. Cornelis, J. Six, S. Bodé, S. Opfergelt, P. Boeckx, and K. Van Oost
Biogeosciences, 12, 1357–1371,Short summary
We link the mineralogy of soils affected by erosion and deposition to the distribution of soil carbon fractions, their turnover and microbial activity. We show that the weathering status of soils and their history are controlling the stabilization of carbon with minerals. After burial, aggregated C is preserved more efficiently while non-aggregated C can be released and younger C re-sequestered more easily. Weathering changes the effectiveness of stabilization mechanism limiting this C sink.
E. C. Brevik, A. Cerdà, J. Mataix-Solera, L. Pereg, J. N. Quinton, J. Six, and K. Van Oost
SOIL, 1, 117–129,Short summary
This paper provides a brief accounting of some of the many ways that the study of soils can be interdisciplinary, therefore giving examples of the types of papers we hope to see submitted to SOIL.
Related subject area
Soils and atmosphereNutrient limitations regulate soil greenhouse gas fluxes from tropical forests: evidence from an ecosystem-scale nutrient manipulation experiment in UgandaOxygen isotope exchange between water and carbon dioxide in soils is controlled by pH, nitrate and microbial biomass through links to carbonic anhydrase activityMicrobial community responses determine how soil–atmosphere exchange of carbonyl sulfide, carbon monoxide, and nitric oxide responds to soil moistureApplication of a laser-based spectrometer for continuous in situ measurements of stable isotopes of soil CO2 in calcareous and acidic soils
Joseph Tamale, Roman Hüppi, Marco Griepentrog, Laban Frank Turyagyenda, Matti Barthel, Sebastian Doetterl, Peter Fiener, and Oliver van Straaten
SOIL, 7, 433–451,Short summary
Soil greenhouse gas (GHG) fluxes were measured monthly from nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), N and P, and control plots of the first nutrient manipulation experiment located in an African pristine tropical forest using static chambers. The results suggest (1) contrasting soil GHG responses to nutrient addition, hence highlighting the complexity of the tropical forests, and (2) that the feedback of tropical forests to the global soil GHG budget could be altered by changes in N and P availability.
Sam P. Jones, Aurore Kaisermann, Jérôme Ogée, Steven Wohl, Alexander W. Cheesman, Lucas A. Cernusak, and Lisa Wingate
SOIL, 7, 145–159,Short summary
Understanding how the rate of oxygen isotope exchange between water and CO2 varies in soils is key for using the oxygen isotope composition of atmospheric CO2 as a tracer of biosphere CO2 fluxes at large scales. Across 44 diverse soils the rate of this exchange responded to pH, nitrate and microbial biomass, which are hypothesised to alter activity of the enzyme carbonic anhydrase in soils. Using these three soil traits, it is now possible to predict how this isotopic exchange varies spatially.
Thomas Behrendt, Elisa C. P. Catão, Rüdiger Bunk, Zhigang Yi, Elena Schweer, Steffen Kolb, Jürgen Kesselmeier, and Susan Trumbore
SOIL, 5, 121–135,Short summary
We measured net fluxes of OCS from nine soils with different land use in a dynamic chamber system and analyzed for one soil RNA relative abundance and gene transcripts. Our data suggest that indeed carbonic anhydrase (CA) plays an important role for OCS exchange, but the role of other enzymes might have been underestimated. Our study is the first assessment of the environmental significance of different microbial groups producing and consuming OCS by various enzymes other than CA.
Jobin Joseph, Christoph Külls, Matthias Arend, Marcus Schaub, Frank Hagedorn, Arthur Gessler, and Markus Weiler
SOIL, 5, 49–62,Short summary
By coupling an OA-ICOS with hydrophobic but gas-permeable membranes placed at different depths in acidic and calcareous soils, we investigated the contribution of abiotic and biotic components to total soil CO2 release. In calcareous Gleysol, CO2 originating from carbonate dissolution contributed to total soil CO2 concentration at detectable degrees, probably due to CO2 evasion from groundwater. Inward diffusion of atmospheric CO2 was found to be pronounced in the topsoil layers at both sites.
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Further progress in understanding and mitigating N2O emissions from soil lies within transdisciplinary research that reaches across spatial scales and takes an ambitious look into the future.
Further progress in understanding and mitigating N2O emissions from soil lies within...