Impacts of nitrogen addition on the carbon balance in a temperate semiarid grassland ecosystem
The ecosystem carbon budget was estimated in a Japanese Zoysia japonica grassland. The green biomass started to grow in May and peaked from mid-July to September. Seasonal variations in soil CO2 flux and root respiration were mediated by changes in soil temperature. Annual soil CO2 flux was 1,121.4 and 1,213.6 g C m−2 and root respiration was 471.0 and 544.3 g C m−2 in 2007 and 2008, respectively. The root respiration contribution to soil CO2 flux ranged from 33% to 71%. During the growing season, net primary production (NPP) was 747.5 and 770.1 g C m−2 in 2007 and 2008, respectively. The biomass removed by livestock grazing (GL) was 122.1 and 102.7 g C m−2, and the livestock returned 28.2 and 25.6 g C m−2 as fecal input (FI) in 2007 and 2008, respectively. The decomposition of FI (DL, the dry weight loss due to decomposition) was very low, 1.5 and 1.4 g C m−2, in 2007 and 2008. Based on the values of annual NPP, soil CO2 flux, root respiration, GL, FI, and DL, the estimated carbon budget of the grassland was 1.7 and 22.3 g C m−2 in 2007 and 2008, respectively. Thus, the carbon budget of this Z. japonica grassland ecosystem remained in equilibrium with the atmosphere under current grazing conditions over the 2 years of the study.