Accelerating soil erosion, leading to loss of the surface soil, is a common occurrence in croplands on undulating terrain. Yet the impact of erosion and reclamation measure on emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) is not known. Three predominant GHG emitted from cropland are as follows: carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), and methane (CH4). The most abundant GHG is CO2, but N2O and CH4 are also important, with global warming potentials (GWP) of 297 and 23, respectively. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the effect of imitated soil erosion on gaseous emission, to determine the effects of application of wheat (Triticum aestivum) residue mulch and swine manure and soybean (Glycine max) residue compost as soil-restorative measures on fluxes of CO2, N2O, and CH4 from uncropped, undisturbed, and desurfaced plots, and to determine relations between GHG fluxes and air and soil temperature, precipitation, and soil-moisture regimes. The microplot (2 × 2 m) experiment was established in 2002 on a Crosby silt loam (fine mixed Aeric Ochraqudalf) near South Charleston, Ohio. The experimental design included two soils: undisturbed and desurfaced soil in which the top 0-cm to 20-cm layer was mechanically removed to simulate severe soil erosion. There were three cover treatments: bare soil, wheat mulch at the rate of 8 Mg dry matter ha−1 y−1, and compost made from swine manure and soybean residues at the rate of 20 Mg drymatter ha−1 y−1. All plots received mineral fertilizer at the rate of 100kgN ha−1. Desurfacing decreased soil moisture, increased temperature, decreased daily and annual CO2 fluxes (1.05 vs. 1.59 g CO2-C m−2 d−1), and increased N2O fluxes (3.58 vs. 1.81 mg N2O-N m−2 d−1). Daily CO2 and annual fluxes were higher from compost than mulch plots. The lowest daily CO2 flux was measured from bare plots. The daily N2O fluxes significantly increased after compost application but were more significantly affected by rainfall events. CH4 fluxes were characterized by a high variability; however, more uptake was observed in compost (−0.41 kg ha−1 y−1) than in mulch (0.60 kg ha−1 y−1) and bare plots (2.75kgha−1 y−1). Daily CO2 fluxes were positively correlated with soil (r = 0.82) and air temperatures (r = 0.84) and negatively correlated with soil-moisture content (r = −0.53). Daily N2O fluxes were highly correlated with precipitation (r = 0.88). Fluxes of CO2 and N2O were mutually correlated (r = 0.56), but CH4 fluxes were not correlated with temperature, moisture, precipitation, or fluxes of other GHG.
Computed GWP was higher in compost-covered plots than in mulched and bare plots.
Estimation of fluxes of GHG indicates that N2O accounts for 13% to28% and CH4 for −0.5% to 5% of the total emission. Therefore, acompleted assessment of flux of GHG must be based on measurement ofall three gases (i.e., CO2, N2O, and CH4).