Altered Belowground Carbon Cycling Following Land-Use Change to Perennial Bioenergy Crops

Kristina J. Anderson-Teixeira, Michael D. Masters, Christopher K. Black, Marcelo Zeri, Mir Zaman Hussain, Carl Bernacchi, Evan H Delucia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Belowground carbon (C) dynamics of terrestrial ecosystems play an important role in the global C cycle and thereby in climate regulation. Globally, land-use change is a major driver of changes in belowground C storage. The emerging bioenergy industry is likely to drive widespread land-use changes, including the replacement of annually tilled croplands with perennial bioenergy crops, and thereby to impact the climate system through alteration of belowground C dynamics. Mechanistic understanding of how land-use changes impact belowground C storage requires elucidation of changes in belowground C flows; however, altered belowground C dynamics following land-use change have yet to be thoroughly quantified through field measurements. Here, we show that belowground C cycling pathways of establishing perennial bioenergy crops (0- to 3. 5-year-old miscanthus, switchgrass, and a native prairie mix) were substantially altered relative to row crop agriculture (corn-soy rotation); specifically, there were substantial increases in belowground C allocation (>400%), belowground biomass (400-750%), root-associated respiration (up to 2,500%), moderate reductions in litter inputs (20-40%), and respiration in root-free soil (up to 50%). This more active root-associated C cycling of perennial vegetation provides a mechanism for observed net C sequestration by these perennial ecosystems, as well as commonly observed increases in soil C under perennial bioenergy crops throughout the world. The more active root-associated belowground C cycle of perennial vegetation implies a climate benefit of grassland maintenance or restoration, even if biomass is harvested annually for bioenergy production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)508-520
Number of pages13
JournalEcosystems
Volume16
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 7 2013

Fingerprint

energy crops
bioenergy
Land use
land use change
Crops
Carbon
crop
carbon
Ecosystems
Biomass
climate
Soils
respiration
belowground biomass
Agriculture
bioenergy industry
Restoration
vegetation
Miscanthus
terrestrial ecosystem

Keywords

  • belowground carbon allocation
  • bioenergy/biofuels
  • carbon cycle
  • establishment phase
  • perennial grasses
  • root allocation
  • soil organic carbon
  • soil respiration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecology

Cite this

Altered Belowground Carbon Cycling Following Land-Use Change to Perennial Bioenergy Crops. / Anderson-Teixeira, Kristina J.; Masters, Michael D.; Black, Christopher K.; Zeri, Marcelo; Hussain, Mir Zaman; Bernacchi, Carl; Delucia, Evan H.

In: Ecosystems, Vol. 16, No. 3, 07.01.2013, p. 508-520.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Anderson-Teixeira, Kristina J. ; Masters, Michael D. ; Black, Christopher K. ; Zeri, Marcelo ; Hussain, Mir Zaman ; Bernacchi, Carl ; Delucia, Evan H. / Altered Belowground Carbon Cycling Following Land-Use Change to Perennial Bioenergy Crops. In: Ecosystems. 2013 ; Vol. 16, No. 3. pp. 508-520.
@article{71cccdb97c684abc96c95bf1cbe71852,
title = "Altered Belowground Carbon Cycling Following Land-Use Change to Perennial Bioenergy Crops",
abstract = "Belowground carbon (C) dynamics of terrestrial ecosystems play an important role in the global C cycle and thereby in climate regulation. Globally, land-use change is a major driver of changes in belowground C storage. The emerging bioenergy industry is likely to drive widespread land-use changes, including the replacement of annually tilled croplands with perennial bioenergy crops, and thereby to impact the climate system through alteration of belowground C dynamics. Mechanistic understanding of how land-use changes impact belowground C storage requires elucidation of changes in belowground C flows; however, altered belowground C dynamics following land-use change have yet to be thoroughly quantified through field measurements. Here, we show that belowground C cycling pathways of establishing perennial bioenergy crops (0- to 3. 5-year-old miscanthus, switchgrass, and a native prairie mix) were substantially altered relative to row crop agriculture (corn-soy rotation); specifically, there were substantial increases in belowground C allocation (>400{\%}), belowground biomass (400-750{\%}), root-associated respiration (up to 2,500{\%}), moderate reductions in litter inputs (20-40{\%}), and respiration in root-free soil (up to 50{\%}). This more active root-associated C cycling of perennial vegetation provides a mechanism for observed net C sequestration by these perennial ecosystems, as well as commonly observed increases in soil C under perennial bioenergy crops throughout the world. The more active root-associated belowground C cycle of perennial vegetation implies a climate benefit of grassland maintenance or restoration, even if biomass is harvested annually for bioenergy production.",
keywords = "belowground carbon allocation, bioenergy/biofuels, carbon cycle, establishment phase, perennial grasses, root allocation, soil organic carbon, soil respiration",
author = "Anderson-Teixeira, {Kristina J.} and Masters, {Michael D.} and Black, {Christopher K.} and Marcelo Zeri and Hussain, {Mir Zaman} and Carl Bernacchi and Delucia, {Evan H}",
year = "2013",
month = "1",
day = "7",
doi = "10.1007/s10021-012-9628-x",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "16",
pages = "508--520",
journal = "Ecosystems",
issn = "1432-9840",
publisher = "Springer New York",
number = "3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Altered Belowground Carbon Cycling Following Land-Use Change to Perennial Bioenergy Crops

AU - Anderson-Teixeira, Kristina J.

AU - Masters, Michael D.

AU - Black, Christopher K.

AU - Zeri, Marcelo

AU - Hussain, Mir Zaman

AU - Bernacchi, Carl

AU - Delucia, Evan H

PY - 2013/1/7

Y1 - 2013/1/7

N2 - Belowground carbon (C) dynamics of terrestrial ecosystems play an important role in the global C cycle and thereby in climate regulation. Globally, land-use change is a major driver of changes in belowground C storage. The emerging bioenergy industry is likely to drive widespread land-use changes, including the replacement of annually tilled croplands with perennial bioenergy crops, and thereby to impact the climate system through alteration of belowground C dynamics. Mechanistic understanding of how land-use changes impact belowground C storage requires elucidation of changes in belowground C flows; however, altered belowground C dynamics following land-use change have yet to be thoroughly quantified through field measurements. Here, we show that belowground C cycling pathways of establishing perennial bioenergy crops (0- to 3. 5-year-old miscanthus, switchgrass, and a native prairie mix) were substantially altered relative to row crop agriculture (corn-soy rotation); specifically, there were substantial increases in belowground C allocation (>400%), belowground biomass (400-750%), root-associated respiration (up to 2,500%), moderate reductions in litter inputs (20-40%), and respiration in root-free soil (up to 50%). This more active root-associated C cycling of perennial vegetation provides a mechanism for observed net C sequestration by these perennial ecosystems, as well as commonly observed increases in soil C under perennial bioenergy crops throughout the world. The more active root-associated belowground C cycle of perennial vegetation implies a climate benefit of grassland maintenance or restoration, even if biomass is harvested annually for bioenergy production.

AB - Belowground carbon (C) dynamics of terrestrial ecosystems play an important role in the global C cycle and thereby in climate regulation. Globally, land-use change is a major driver of changes in belowground C storage. The emerging bioenergy industry is likely to drive widespread land-use changes, including the replacement of annually tilled croplands with perennial bioenergy crops, and thereby to impact the climate system through alteration of belowground C dynamics. Mechanistic understanding of how land-use changes impact belowground C storage requires elucidation of changes in belowground C flows; however, altered belowground C dynamics following land-use change have yet to be thoroughly quantified through field measurements. Here, we show that belowground C cycling pathways of establishing perennial bioenergy crops (0- to 3. 5-year-old miscanthus, switchgrass, and a native prairie mix) were substantially altered relative to row crop agriculture (corn-soy rotation); specifically, there were substantial increases in belowground C allocation (>400%), belowground biomass (400-750%), root-associated respiration (up to 2,500%), moderate reductions in litter inputs (20-40%), and respiration in root-free soil (up to 50%). This more active root-associated C cycling of perennial vegetation provides a mechanism for observed net C sequestration by these perennial ecosystems, as well as commonly observed increases in soil C under perennial bioenergy crops throughout the world. The more active root-associated belowground C cycle of perennial vegetation implies a climate benefit of grassland maintenance or restoration, even if biomass is harvested annually for bioenergy production.

KW - belowground carbon allocation

KW - bioenergy/biofuels

KW - carbon cycle

KW - establishment phase

KW - perennial grasses

KW - root allocation

KW - soil organic carbon

KW - soil respiration

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84876304167&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84876304167&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1007/s10021-012-9628-x

DO - 10.1007/s10021-012-9628-x

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:84876304167

VL - 16

SP - 508

EP - 520

JO - Ecosystems

JF - Ecosystems

SN - 1432-9840

IS - 3

ER -