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Browsing by Subject "nurmenviljely"

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  • Vilhonen, Enni (2021)
    Improving land management to mitigate climate change is important, especially in agriculture on soils with high organic content. Many studies have found evidence that increasing diversity can help to improve plant biomass production and soil carbon storage. This is attributed to complementarity which consists of more efficient resource use due to niche differences and facilitative interactions. For the total climate impact, the effect of greenhouse gas emissions from the soil needs to be considered. To find out if adding more species to a grass mixture could have similar benefits in boreal zone grass cultivation in Finland, an experiment was set up with four different species mixtures, and three levels of species richness were established under a nurse crop. It was additionally of interest if these effects can counter the emissions of cultivation on organic soils. Biomass samples were collected both before the nurse crop was removed and at the end of the growing season. Both species richness and Shannon diversity index were considered as explanatory factors. Carbon exchange, divided into respiration and photosynthetic capacity, as well as nitrous oxide and methane fluxes, were monitored monthly. There was no strong evidence that species richness affects biomass or greenhouse gas fluxes during the first year. The effect of species richness on the biomass was clearer when the diversity index was considered. These results were significant when the lowest biomass values were excluded from the analysis, probably because complementary resource use needs enough biomass to have an effect. The differences in carbon flux measurements may be sensitive to timing within the growing season since the results closest to significant were obtained at the start of the season. At the time, the measurement conditions were good and the nurse crop biomass was small enough not to obscure the effects of grass mixture. When it comes to other greenhouse gases, species richness had most impact on early nitrous oxide emissions, while methane flux probably needs significantly more time for any changes to appear. Overall, the effect of species richness needs to be studied over the full grass cultivation cycle to find out the full effect. Based on current results, increasing species richness may be an option when other methods cannot be used to reduce emissions and improve carbon sink of agriculture.