Effects of Grazing Pattern on Ecosystem Respiration and Methane Flux in a Sown Pasture in Inner Mongolia, China

Academic Article


  • The establishment of sown pasture is an important agricultural practice in many landscapes. Although both native grassland and sown pasture play a key role in the global carbon cycle, due to lack of data and field experiments, our understanding of grassland CH4 fluxes and CO2 emissions remains limited, especially when it comes to sown pasture. We measured ecosystem respiration and CH4 fluxes in response to a variety of potential drivers (soil temperature, soil moisture, ammonium nitrogen, nitrate nitrogen and dissolved organic carbon) in CG (continuous grazing), RG (rotational grazing) and UG (ungrazed) plots in sown grassland for one year in Inner Mongolia. Fluxes of CH4 and ecosystem respiration were measured using static opaque chambers and gas chromatography. Grazing significantly reduced ecosystem respiration (p < 0.01), and grazing pattern significantly influenced respiration in CG and RG plots (p < 0.01). We find that the sown grassland is a net sink for atmospheric CH4. No influence of grazing pattern was observed on CH4 flux in CG, RG and UG (p > 0.05). Soil temperature is the most important factor influencing ecosystem respiration and CH4 flux in the sown grassland, with soil moisture playing a secondary role to soil temperature. Variation in levels of ammonium nitrogen, nitrate nitrogen and dissolved organic carbon had little influence on ecosystem respiration or CH4 flux (except in UG plots). The values obtained for ecosystem respiration of grasslands have a large uncertainty range, which may be due to spatial variability as well as differences in research methods. Mean CH4 fluxes measured only during the growing season were much higher than the annual mean CH4 fluxes.
  • Authors

  • Mei, Baoling
  • Yue, Hongyu
  • Zheng, Xunhua
  • McDowell, Bill
  • Zhao, Qingshan
  • Zhou, Zaixing
  • Yao, Zhisheng
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • January 2019
  • Published In

  • ATMOSPHERE  Journal
  • Keywords

  • ecosystem respiration
  • grazing pattern
  • methane flux
  • semiarid
  • sown pasture
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 5
  • End Page

  • 5
  • Volume

  • 10
  • Issue

  • 1