Carbon balances during land conversion in early bioenergy systems

T. Zenone, J. Chen, I. Gelfand, G. P. Robertson, S. K. Hamilton

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


In this study, we established a field experiment and deployed seven eddy-covariance towers to quantify the roles of land use change and the subsequent carbon (C) balances of three different bioenergy systems(corn, switchgrass, and mixed prairie species) that were developed from two historical land use types: monocultural grasslands dominated by smooth brome (Bromus inermis Leyss) and lands in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Three CRP fields and three cropland fields were converted to soybean in 2009 (conversion year) before establishing the cellulosic biofuel cropping systems in 2010 (establishment year). A CRP perennial grassland site was kept undisturbed as a reference. Conversion of CRP to soybean induced net C emissions during the conversion year(134 -262 g C m-2 yr-1), while in the same year the net C balance at the CRP grassland reference was -35 g C m-2 yr-1 (i.e., net Csequestration). The establishment of switchgrass and mixed prairie induced a cumulative C balance of -113 g Cm-2 (switchgrass from CRP),250 g C m-2 (switchgrass from cropland), 706 g Cm-2 (mixed prairie from CRP), and 59 g Cm-2 (mixed prairie from cropland) over the three-year study period. The cumulative three-year C balance of corn converted from CRP and from cropland was -151 g Cm-2 and -183 g C m-2, respectively. Eddy flux measurements during cellulosic biofuel crop establish mentreveal annual changes in C balance that cannot be detected using conventional mass balance approaches. When end-use of harvested biomass was considered, the C balances for all studied systems, except there ference site, exhibited large C emissions ranging from 150 to 990 g Cm-2 over the three-year conversion phase.
Original languageEnglish GB
Title of host publication American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2012
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameAmerican Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2012


  • 0402 BIOGEOSCIENCES / Agricultural systems
  • 0414 BIOGEOSCIENCES / Biogeochemical cycles
  • processes
  • and modeling
  • 0428 BIOGEOSCIENCES / Carbon cycling


Dive into the research topics of 'Carbon balances during land conversion in early bioenergy systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this