Afforestation of semi-arid shrubland reduces biogenic NO emission from soil

I. Gelfand, G. Feig, F. X. Meixner, D. Yakir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Nitric oxide (NO) plays a central role in the formation of tropospheric ozone, hydroxyl radicals, as well as nitrous and nitric acids. There are, however, large uncertainties around estimates of global NO emissions due to the paucity of data. In particular, there is little information on the rate of NO emission and its sensitivity to processes such as land use changes in dry environments. Here we report on a two-year study on the influence of afforestation on soil NO fluxes in the semi-arid afforestation system in Southern Israel (Yatir forest, mean annual precipitation ∼280 mm). Laboratory incubations were carried out under seasonally defined conditions of soil moisture and temperature using soils sampled in different seasons from the native shrubland (taken both under shrub canopy and in the inter-shrub areas), and from the adjacent ∼2800 ha, 40-year-old pine afforestation site. Combining laboratory results with field measurements of soil moisture and temperature, we up-scaled soil-atmosphere NO fluxes to the ecosystem level. The different microsites differed in their annual mean NO release rates (0.04, 0.14 and 0.03 mg m-2 d-1 for the shrubland under and between shrubs and for the forest, respectively), and exhibited high inter-seasonal variability in NO emission rates (ranging from zero up to 0.25 mg m-2 d-1 in the wet and dry-rewetting seasons, respectively), as well as in temperature responses. Up-scaling results to annual and ecosystem scales indicated that afforestation of the semi-arid shrubland could reduce soil NO emission by up to 65%.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1561-1570
Number of pages10
JournalSoil Biology and Biochemistry
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Afforestation
  • Ecosystem
  • Nitric oxide
  • Nitrogen
  • Pinus halepensis
  • Semi-arid ecosystem
  • Soil biogenic gases emission
  • Upscaling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Soil Science


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