Short-term CO2 emissions from planted soil subject to elevated CO2 and simulated precipitation. Smart, D. R.; Penuelas, Josep.
Applied Soil Ecology:
Carbon dioxide emissions from soils beneath canopies of two Mediterranean plants, Artemisia absinthium L. and Festuca pratensis Huds. cv. Demeter, were monitored over a 7-day period that included an artificial precipitation event of 4 cm. The experiments were conducted using 0.2 m3 soil microcosms inside greenhouses with CO2 concentrations of either 360 or 500 mmol mol 1. Carbon dioxide flux from the soil surface, as calculated using a diffusive transport model agreed well with CO2 flux measurements made using a dynamic flow system. Soil CO2 emissions did not differ significantly between the 360 and 500 mmol mol 1 CO2 treatments when soils were dry (volumetric soil moisture content 9%). A simulated precipitation event caused an immediate exhalation of CO2 from soil, after which CO2 emissions declined slightly and remained constant for approximately 36 h. CO2 emissions from soil microcosms with F. pratensis plants growing in 500 mmol mol 1 CO2 then rose to levels that were significantly greater than CO2 emissions from soils in the microcosms exposed to 360 mmol mol 1 CO2. For A. absinthium growing in 500 mmol mol 1 CO2, the rise in soil CO2 emissions following the wetting event was not significantly greater than emissions from soils with A. absinthium growing under 360 mmol mol 1 CO2. A. absinthium above ground biomass increased by 46.1 17.9% (mean S.E., n = 4, P 0.05). Above ground biomass did not significantly increase for F. pratensis (14.4 6.5%, P 0.10). Root biomass, on the other hand, increased for both species; by 50.6 7.9% (P 0.05) for A. absinthium and by 55.9 12.7% (P 0.05) for F. pratensis. Our results demonstrate two events following precipitation onto dry soils, an immediate release of CO2 followed by a gradual increase from enhanced biological activity The gradual increase was greater for the herbaceous ruderal perennial F. pratensis under elevated CO2.