Maize carbon dynamics are driven by soil erosion state and plant phenology rather than nitrogen fertilization form
Carbon (C) stored in soils represents the largest C pool of terrestrial ecosystems and consequently plays a crucial role in the global C cycle. So far, it is widely unclear to what extent different land uses and land use change influence soil C storage. The hummocky ground moraine landscape of northeastern Germany is characterized by distinct small-scale soil heterogeneity on the one hand, and intensive energy crop cultivation on the other. Both factors are assumed to significantly influence gaseous C exchange; as such, they likely drive soil organic carbon (SOC) stock dynamics in terrestrial agricultural ecosystems. To date, it is not clear to what extent N fertilization forms, which are associated with energy crop cultivation (e.g., application of biogas fermentation residues) and soil type relative to soil erosion state, influence soil C dynamics, nor is it clear whether one of these factors is more important than the other. To investigate the influence of soil erosion state and N fertilization form on soil C dynmaics, we present dynamic and seasonal net ecosystem carbon balances (NECB) as a proxy for changes in soil organic carbon stocks. Measurements were conducted for maize (Zea mays L.) at five sites in the “CarboZALF-D” experimental field during the 2011 growing season. Measurement sites represent different soil erosion states (non-eroded Albic Luvisols, extremely eroded Calcaric Regosols and depositional Endogleyic Colluvic Regosols) and N fertilization forms (100% mineral fertilizer, 50% mineral and 50% organic fertilizer, and 100% organic fertilizer). Fertilization treatments were established on the Albic Luvisol. Net ecosystem CO2 exchange (NEE) and ecosystem respiration (Reco) were measured every four weeks using a dynamic flow-through non-steady-state closed manual chamber system...
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