Contribution of ephemeral wetlands to annual nitrous oxide flux from an agricultural landscape
Measurement of soil nitrous oxide emissions from soil in the Canadian Prairie Region rarely includes uncultivated ephemeral wetlands (UW) within agricultural landscapes. Accurate inventories and a better understanding spatial and temporal variability for soil N2O in agricultural terrains requires flux measurements from non-agricultural areas of the field. The purpose of this study was to measure soil nitrous oxide flux from an agricultural landscape that includes UW. Measurements were taken weekly and bi-weekly from July to October of 2003 and from March to October of 2004 and 2005. Cumulative emissions were highest from concave elements (cultivated ephemeral wetlands) (CV) elements in 2003 and 2004 and highest from the basin centers (BC) of UW in 2005. High flux events were associated with rainfall in 2003, and the recession of standing water at CV and BC elements in 2004 and 2005. However, there are differences between ephemeral wetlands in their emission response to water recession. Accounting for aerial extent of landscape units reveals that CV elements make greatest contribution to total yearly flux. Beneficial management practices intended to reduce annual emissions from this site should be designed to reduce emission from CV elements and UW should not be cleared for crop production. Sampling designs for measurement of emissions from UW need not distinguish between riparian grass and riparian tree elements within the UW.
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