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Carbon and nitrogen emissions from stored manure and cropped fields in irrigated mountain oases of Oman
Little is known about gaseous carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) emissions from traditional terrace agriculture in irrigated high mountain agroecosystems of the subtropics. In an effort towards filling this knowledge gap measurements of carbon dioxide (CO_2), methane (CH_4), ammonia (NH_3) and dinitrous oxide (N_2O) were taken with a mobile photoacoustic infrared multi-gas monitor on manure-filled PE-fibre storage bags and on flood-irrigated untilled and tilled fields in three mountain oases of the northen Omani Al Jabal al Akhdar mountains. During typical 9-11 day irrigation cycles of March, August and September 2006 soil volumetric moisture contents of fields dominated by fodder wheat, barley, oats and pomegranate ranged from 46-23%. While manure incorporation after application effectively reduced gaseous N losses, prolonged storage of manure in heaps or in PE-fibre bags caused large losses of C and N. Given the large irrigation-related turnover of organic C, sustainable agricultural productivity of oasis agriculture in Oman seems to require the integration of livestock which allows for several applications of manure per year at individual rates of 20 t dry matter ha^−1.