Soil organic carbon dynamics under perennial energy crops

Zatta, Alessandro (2013) Soil organic carbon dynamics under perennial energy crops, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Scienze agroambientali, 25 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/5921.
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The European renewable energy directive 2009/28/EC (E.C. 2009) provides a legislative framework for reducing GHG emissions by 20%, while achieving a 20% share of energy from renewable sources by 2020. Perennial energy crops could significantly contribute to limit GHG emissions through replacing equivalent fossil fuels and by sequestering a considerable amount of carbon into the soil through the large amounts of belowground biomass produced. The objective of this study is to evaluate the effects of land use change that perennial energy crops have on croplands (switchgrass) and marginal grasslands (miscanthus). For that purpose above and belowground biomass, SOC variation and Net Ecosystem Exchange were evaluated after five years of growth. At aboveground level both crops produced high biomass under cropland conditions as well as under marginal soils. At belowground level they also produced large amounts of biomass, but no significant influences on SOC in the upper layer (0-30 cm) were found. This is probably because of the "priming effect" that caused fast carbon substitution. In switchgrass only it was found a significant SOC increase in deeper layers (30-60 cm), while in the whole soil profile (0-60 cm) SOC increased from 42 to 51 ha-1. However, the short experimental periods (for both switchgrass and miscanthus), in which land use change was evaluated, do not permit to determine the real capacity of perennial energy crops to accumulate SOC. In conclusion the large amounts of belowground biomass enhanced the SOC dynamic through the priming effect resulting in increased SOC in cropland but not in marginal grassland.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Zatta, Alessandro
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze agrarie
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
energy crops, land use change, soil organic carbon, belowground biomass
Data di discussione
10 Giugno 2013

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