The NZAGRC’s former nitrous oxide and soil carbon work streams were combined into one programme this year. This ensures a strong overall framework, closer communication and full GHG analyses across the programme. The programme focusses on three key areas:
1. Identifying and prioritising plant traits for low GHG emissions;
2. Mitigation practices to maintain soil carbon and reduce nitrous oxide emissions at paddock scale; and
3. Defining the achievable soil carbon stabilisation capacity of New Zealand grassland soils.
Current progress and research stories
The carbon balance of temperate grasslands part I: The impact of increased species diversity
S. Rutledge, A.M. Wall, P.L. Mudge, B. Troughton, D.I. Campbell, J. Pronger, C. Joshi, L.A. Schipper, The carbon balance of temperate grasslands part I: The impact of increased species diversity, Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, Volume 239, 2017, Pages 310-323, ISSN 0167-8809, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2017.01.039.
- Annual C balances were measured for four years over three pastoral blocks on a New Zealand dairy farm.
- Two blocks were renewed to low and high diversity swards, and one block left as an unmodified control.
- Pasture renewal to either sward increased dry matter production relative to unmodified control.
- Renewal to high diversity sward resulted in reduced C loss compared to renewal to low diversity.
- Renewal to neither high nor low diversity sward had benefits for C sequestration over the unmodified control.
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