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Measurements and modeling of land-use specific greenhouse gas emissions from soils in Southern Amazonia

  • Conversion of natural vegetation into cattle pastures and croplands results in altered emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG), such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O). Their atmospheric concentration increase is attributed the main driver of climate change. Despite of successful private initiatives, e.g. the Soy Moratorium and the Cattle Agreement, Brazil was ranked the worldwide second largest emitter of GHG from land use change and forestry, and the third largest emitter from agriculture in 2012. N2O is the major GHG, in particular for the agricultural sector, as its natural emissions are strongly enhanced by human activities (e.g. fertilization and land use changes). Given denitrification the main process for N2O production and its sensitivity to external changes (e.g. precipitation events) makes Brazil particularly predestined for high soil-derived N2O fluxes. In this study, we followed a bottom-up approach based on a country-wide literature research, own measurement campaigns, and modeling on the plot and regional scale, in order to quantify the scenario-specific development of GHG emissions from soils in the two Federal States Mato Grosso and Pará. In general, N2O fluxes from Brazilian soils were found to be low and not particularly dynamic. In addition to that, expected reactions to precipitation events stayed away. These findings emphasized elaborate model simulations in daily time steps too sophisticated for regional applications. Hence, an extrapolation approach was used to first estimate the influence of four different land use scenarios (alternative futures) on GHG emissions and then set up mitigation strategies for Southern Amazonia. The results suggested intensification of agricultural areas (mainly cattle pastures) and, consequently, avoided deforestation essential for GHG mitigation. The outcomes of this study provide a very good basis for (a) further research on the understanding of underlying processes causing low N2O fluxes from Brazilian soils and (b) political attempts to avoid new deforestation and keep GHG emissions low.

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Author:Katharina H. E. Meurer
Referee:Hermann F. Jungkunst, C. Florian Stange
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Date of completion:2016/08/26
Date of publication:2016/08/26
Publishing institution:Universität Koblenz, Universitätsbibliothek
Granting institution:Universität Koblenz-Landau, Campus Landau, Fachbereich 7
Date of final exam:2016/06/30
Release Date:2016/08/26
Tag:Southern Amazonia; greenhouse gases; land use change; modeling; soils
Number of pages:164
Institutes:Fachbereich 7
Licence (German):License LogoEs gilt das deutsche Urheberrecht: § 53 UrhG