EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Effects of nitrogen deposition on greenhouse gas fluxes from the soil: results from an innovative experimental design

Anna Bortolazzi1, Maurizio Ventura1, Pietro Panzacchi1,3, Flavio Fornasier2, Claudio Mondini2, and Giustino Tonon1
Anna Bortolazzi et al.
  • 1Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Faculty of Science and Technology, Piazza Università, 39100 Bolzano, Italy (
  • 2CREA - VE Consiglio per la ricerca in Agricoltura e l'Analisi della Economia Agraria, Centro di Ricerca Viticoltura ed Enologia, Via Trieste 23, 34170 Gorizia, Italy
  • 3Dipartimento di Bioscienze e Territorio, Università degli Studi del Molise, Contrada Fonte Lappone, 86090 Pesche, Isernia, Italy

In the last decades, the effects of nitrogen (N) deposition on temperate forests have received much interest. Studies recorded several changes in soil carbon (C) and N cycles due to extra reactive N available. For instance, past studies reported that N deposition, may influence CO2 emission, lower CH4 consumption by the soil and increase the emission of N2O. Nevertheless, the mechanistic understanding of these ecological responses is still far to be reached. However, most of the studies neglected to include the canopy interception in the experiments simulating N addition, notwithstanding tree canopy have shown to change both the amount and the chemical composition of the N deposition. Hence, experiments simulating this process by applying fertilization above the canopy are needed.

The aim of this study is to explore how N deposition influences greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in a temperate oak forest (Quercus petraea Liebl.) located in Monticolo (Bolzano, Italy). In this site, a set of three plots was created and replicated three times. Each set includes a control plot, a plot with below-canopy fertilization (NBL) and a plot with above-canopy fertilization (NAB). The fertilization is applied, since 2015, from May to September, for a total annual N addition of 20 kg N ha-1.

Since April 2018, CO2 emission has been monthly measured with a portable infrared gas analyzer. Measurements were performed on three points per plot, for a total of 27 measurement points. During measurements, soil moisture and soil temperature at 10 cm depth were measured as well.

The measurements of CH4 and N2O started during the growing season in 2019 and are performed on a monthly basis by a static chamber method. Three chambers were installed per plots, for a total of 27 chambers.

We will present the preliminary results of this study. The results showed that the 5-year N fertilization did not lead to significant differences between plots in terms of GHG fluxes. The sensitivity of CO2 emission to temperature was not influenced by extra N. The differences were not significant between fertilized and unfertilized plots, nor between the two fertilization methods.

How to cite: Bortolazzi, A., Ventura, M., Panzacchi, P., Fornasier, F., Mondini, C., and Tonon, G.: Effects of nitrogen deposition on greenhouse gas fluxes from the soil: results from an innovative experimental design, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-17258,, 2020


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  • CC1: Comment on EGU2020-17258, Sarah Morrison, 04 May 2020

    Interesting work, thanks for sharing. Are you planning to continue these measurements in 2020?

    • AC1: Reply to CC1, Anna Bortolazzi, 06 May 2020

      Hello! Thank you for your comment.

      Yes, we will continue in the next years.