Journal of Arid Land

Article Title

CO2, CH4 and N2O flux changes in degraded grassland soil of Inner Mongolia, China


The main purpose of this study was to explore the dynamic changes of greenhouse gas (GHG) from grasslands under different degradation levels during the growing seasons of Inner Mongolia, China. Grassland degradation is associated with the dynamics of GHG fluxes, e.g., CO2, CH4 and N2O fluxes. As one of the global ecological environmental problems, grassland degradation has changed the vegetation productivity as well as the accumulation and decomposition rates of soil organic matter and thus will influence the carbon and nitrogen cycles of ecosystems, which will affect the GHG fluxes between grassland ecosystems and the atmosphere. Therefore, it is necessary to explore how the exchanges of CO2, CH4 and N2O fluxes between soil and atmosphere are influenced by the grassland degradation. We measured the fluxes of CO2, CH4 and N2O in lightly degraded, moderately degraded and severely degraded grasslands in Inner Mongolia of China during the growing seasons from July to September in 2013 and 2014. The typical semi-arid grassland of Inner Mongolia plays a role as the source of atmospheric CO2 and N2O and the sink for CH4. Compared with CO2 fluxes, N2O and CH4 fluxes were relatively low. The exchange of CO2, N2O and CH4 fluxes between the grassland soil and the atmosphere may exclusively depend on the net exchange rate of CO2 in semi-arid grasslands. The greenhouse gases showed a clear seasonal pattern, with the CO2 fluxes of –33.63–386.36 mg/(m•h), CH4 uptake fluxes of 0.113–0.023 mg/(m•h) and N2O fluxes of –1.68–19.90 µg/(m•h). Grassland degradation significantly influenced CH4 uptake but had no significant influence on CO2 and N2O emissions. Soil moisture and temperature were positively correlated with CO2 emissions but had no significant effect on N2O fluxes. Soil moisture may be the primary driving factor for CH4 uptake. The research results can be in help to better understand the impact of grassland degradation on the ecological environment.


grassland degradation; semi-arid grassland; greenhouse gases; CO2; CH4; N2O; Inner Mongolia

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