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Seasonal Net Carbon Exchange in Rotation Crops in the Temperate Climate of Central Lithuania

1
Agriculture Academy, Vytautas Magnus University, Studentų 11, Akademija, LT-53361 Kaunas, Lithuania
2
Lithuanian Institute of Agrarian Economics, LT-03105 Vilnius, Lithuania
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(7), 1966; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11071966
Received: 23 February 2019 / Revised: 21 March 2019 / Accepted: 26 March 2019 / Published: 2 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soft Computing for Sustainability)
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Abstract

Intelligent agricultural solutions require data on the environmental impacts of agriculture. In order for operationalize decision-making for sustainable agriculture, one needs to establish the corresponding datasets and protocols. Increasing anthropogenic CO2 emissions into the atmosphere force the choice of growing crops aimed at mitigating climate change. For this reason, investigations of seasonal carbon exchange were carried out in 2013–2016 at the Training Farm of the Vytautas Magnus University (former Aleksandras Stulginskis University), Lithuania. This paper compares the carbon exchange rate for different crops, viz., maize, ley, winter wheat, spring rapeseed and barley under conventional farming. This study focuses on the carbon exchange rate. We measure the emitted and absorbed CO2 fluxes by applying the closed chamber method. The biomass measurement and leaf area index (LAI) calculations at different plant growth stages are used to evaluate carbon exchange in different agroecosystems. The differences in photosynthetically assimilated CO2 rates were significantly impacted by the leaf area index (p = 0.04) during the plant vegetation period. The significantly (p = 0.02–0.05) strong correlation (r = 0.6–0.7) exists between soil respiration and LAI. Soil respiration composed only 21% of the agroecosystem carbon exchange. Plant respiration ranged between 0.034 and 3.613 µmol m−2 s−1 during the vegetation period composed of a negligible ratio (mean 16%) of carbon exchange. Generally, respiration emissions were obviously recovered by the gross primary production (GPP) of crops. Therefore, the ecosystems were acting as an atmospheric CO2 sink. Barley accumulated the lowest mean GPP 12.77 µmol m−2 s−1. The highest mean GPP was determined for ley (14.28 µmol m−2 s−1) and maize (15.68 µmol m−2 s−1) due to the biggest LAI and particular bio-characteristics. Due to the highest NEP, the ley (12.66 µmol m−2 s−1) and maize (12.76 µmol m−2 s−1) agroecosystems sank the highest C from the atmosphere and, thus, they might be considered the most sustainable items between crops. Consequently, the appropriate choice of crops and their area in crop rotations may reduce CO2 emissions and their impact on the environment and climate change. View Full-Text
Keywords: CO2 fluxes; bio-parameters; environment; crops CO2 fluxes; bio-parameters; environment; crops
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Baležentienė, L.; Mikša, O.; Baležentis, T.; Streimikiene, D. Seasonal Net Carbon Exchange in Rotation Crops in the Temperate Climate of Central Lithuania. Sustainability 2019, 11, 1966.

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