EGU23-11650, updated on 26 Feb 2023
EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

The role of soil methanotrophy in offsetting methane emissions at farm level – the potential contribution of silvopastoral systems and biochar additions 

Anna Walkiewicz1, Adrianna Rafalska1, Adam Kubaczyński1, Victor Rolo2, Maria Vivas2, Gerardo Moreno2, and Bruce Osborne3
Anna Walkiewicz et al.
  • 1Institute of Agrophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences, Lublin, Poland
  • 2Forest Research Group, INDEHESA, University of Extremadura, Spain
  • 3UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science and UCD Earth Institute, University College Dublin, Ireland

Soils may act as a biological sink for methane (CH4) through methanotrophic activity. This process is particularly important in the farming sector, as CH4 emissions from livestock and manure storage often dominate the greenhouse gas (GHG) budget. This places a particular emphasis on the identification of management practices that may increase the capacity of soils to absorb CH4. In this study we examined  practices with the potential to improve the CH4 balance at farm level, including the effect of biochar as a soil additive, and the potential of silvopasture systems. Experiments conducted under controlled laboratory conditions revealed that the addition of biochar increased the rate of CH4 oxidation in the mineral and manure-fertilized silty soil, although such effect has not been confirmed in all soil types. Using biochar produced from crop by products  may also provide a way of managing agricultural wastes with concomitant practical benefits. Silvopastoral systems can also alter the CH4 balance of farms because of the effect of the presence of trees on microclimate and soil conditions. However, relatively few studies have assessed the potential of trees to improve CH4 budgets at the farm level in Mediterranean silvopastoral systems. In-situ measurements of soil-atmosphere CH4 fluxes were undertaken to evaluate the CH4 uptake potential of pastures below and beyond tree canopies. Preliminary results showed CH4 emissions in open tree-less pastures, but not under trees, which showed mainly CH4 uptake. This result highlights the potential of silvopastoral systems to improve the CH4 balance at farm level perhaps in combination with biochar additions. Nevertheless, the mitigation potential of different soil additives and silvopastoral  practices at farm level are still a subject of research in need of further studies.

This work was funded by the National Centre for Research and Development within GHG Manage (ERA-GAS/I/GHG-MANAGE/01/2018) and ReLive (CIRCULARITY/61/ReLive/2022); Joint Call of the Co-fund ERA-Nets Programme, SusCrop (Grant N° 771134), FACCE ERA-GAS (Grant N° 696356), ICT-AGRI-FOOD (Grant N° 862665) and SusAn (Grant N° 696231), Spanish Ministry of Science and Education (PCI2021-122100-2A).

How to cite: Walkiewicz, A., Rafalska, A., Kubaczyński, A., Rolo, V., Vivas, M., Moreno, G., and Osborne, B.: The role of soil methanotrophy in offsetting methane emissions at farm level – the potential contribution of silvopastoral systems and biochar additions , EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-11650,, 2023.