Field measurements of the CO2 evolution rate under different crops during an irrigation cycle in a mountain oasis of Oman


For millennia oasis agriculture has been the backbone of rural livelihood in the desertic Sultanate of Oman. However, little is known about the functioning of these oasis systems, in particular with respect to the C turnover. The objective was to determine the effects of crop, i.e. alfalfa, wheat and bare fallow on the CO2 evolution rate during an irrigation cycle in relation to changes in soil water content and soil temperature. The gravimetric soil water content decreased from initially 24% to approximately 16% within 7 days after irrigation. The mean CO2 evolution rates increased significantly in the order fallow (27.4 mg C m−2 h−1) extless wheat (45.5 mg C m−2 h−1) extless alfalfa (97.5 mg C m−2 h−1). It can be calculated from these data that the CO2 evolution rate of the alfalfa root system was nearly four times higher than the corresponding rate in the wheat root system. The decline in CO2 evolution rate, especially during the first 4 days after irrigation, was significantly related to the decline in the gravimetric water content, with r = 0.70. CO2 evolution rate and soil temperature at 5 cm depth were negatively correlated (r = −0.56, n = 261) due to increasing soil temperature with decreasing gravimetric water content.

Applied Soil Ecology, (25), 1,