Changes in isotopic signatures of soil carbon and CO2 respiration immediately and one year after Miscanthus removal

Drewer, Julia; Dufossé, Karine; Skiba, Ute M.; Gabrielle, Benoît. 2016 Changes in isotopic signatures of soil carbon and CO2 respiration immediately and one year after Miscanthus removal. Global Change Biology Bioenergy, 8 (1). 59-65.

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The removal of perennial bioenergy crops, such as Miscanthus, has rarely been studied although it is an important form of land use change. Miscanthus is a C4 plant, and the carbon (C) it deposits during its growth has a different isotopic signature (12/13C) compared to a C3 plant. Identifying the proportion of C stored and released to the atmosphere is important information for ecosystem models and life cycle analyses. During a removal experiment in June 2011 of a 20-year old Miscanthus field (Grignon, France), vegetation was removed mechanically and chemically. Two replicate plots were converted into a rotation of annual crops, two plots had Miscanthus removed with no soil disturbance, followed by bare soil (set-aside), one control plot was left with continued Miscanthus cultivation, and an adjacent field was used as annual arable crops control. There was a significant difference in the isotopic composition of the total soil C under Miscanthus compared with adjacent annual arable crops in all three measured soil layers (0–5, 5–10 and 10–20 cm). Before Miscanthus removal, total C in the soil under Miscanthus ranged from 4.9% in the top layer to 3.9% in the lower layers with δ13C values of −16.3 to −17.8 while soil C under the adjacent arable crop was significantly lower and ranged from 1.6 to 2% with δ13C values of −23.2. This did not change much in 2012, suggesting the accumulation of soil C under Miscanthus persists for at least the first year. In contrast, the isotopic signals of soil respiration 1 year after Miscanthus removal from recultivated and set-aside plots were similar to that of the annual arable control, while just after removal the signals were similar to that of the Miscanthus control. This suggests a rapid change in the form of soil C pools that are respired.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Dise
ISSN: 1757-1693
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: bioenergy, CO2, Miscanthus, removal, soil C, stable isotopes
NORA Subject Terms: Atmospheric Sciences
Date made live: 10 Feb 2015 11:02 +0 (UTC)

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