A 10-20% decrease in annual precipitation is predicted in the Mediterranean basin, and in particular to the Iberian Peninsula, with foreseen effects on the exchange of soil-atmosphere greenhouse gases (GHGs; CO(2), CH(4), and N(2)O). To simulate this scenario, we setup an experimental design in the particularly dry period of 2008-2009 using rainfall exclusion and irrigation, to obtain plots receiving 110% (538 mm), 100% (493 mm) and 74% (365 mm) of the natural precipitation. Soil CO(2) fluxes showed a strong increase from summer to autumn as a consequence of increasing soil heterotrophic respiration that resulted from rewetting. Fluxes of N(2)O were negligible. According to our data, soil was a permanent CH(4) sink independent of the soil water content (in the range between 6-26% WFPS - water-filled pore space) and of soil temperature (in the range of 7-28 degrees C), supporting the concept that seasonally dry ecosystems (Mediterranean) may represent a significant sink of atmospheric CH4. The study provides evidence that the 26% decrease or 10% increase in the ambient rainfall from annual precipitation of ca 500 mm did not significantly affect soil functionality and had a limited impact on soil-atmosphere net GHGs exchange in evergreen oak woodlands in southern Portugal.
|Journal||Plant Soil And Environment|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2011|