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[permaculture] Carbon Sequestration, Temperate Tree-Based Intercropping Systems, Ontario, Canada | Agroforestry Systems

Carbon Sequestration Potentials in Temperate Tree-Based
Intercropping Systems, Southern Ontario, Canada

Matthias Peichl, Naresh V. Thevathasan, Andrew M. Gordon,
Jürgen Huss and Refaat A. Abohassan

Agroforestry Systems
Publisher: Springer Netherlands
Issue: Volume 66, Number 3
Date: March 2006
Pages: 243 - 257



Carbon (C) sequestration was quantified in two tree-based intercropping
and in conventional agricultural systems in southern Ontario, Canada.
In the intercropping systems, 13-year-old hybrid poplar (Populus deltoides
× Populus nigra clone DN-177) and Norway spruce (Picea abies L.) were
intercropped with barley (Hordeum vulgare L. cv. OAC Kippen). In the
conventional agricultural system, barley was grown as a sole crop.

Above- and below-ground carbon in trees, soil C, soil respiration and C
leaching from each system were determined in situ. These data coupled
with complementary data obtained from the literature were compiled and
used to construct C cycle models, C pools and fluxes for each system.

The total mean above- and below-ground C sequestered in permanent
tree components was 15.1 and 6.4 t C ha−1 for poplar and spruce trees,
respectively at 111 stems ha−1.

Soil C pools were 78.5, 66 and 65 t C ha−1 in poplar, spruce intercropping
and in barley sole cropping systems, respectively.

Soil respiration rates were 3.7, 4.5 and 2.8 t C ha−1 y−1 in poplar,
spruce intercropping and barley sole cropping systems, respectively.

Carbon leaching within the intercropping systems was greater below
the tree row compared to the middle of the alley, but average values
differed little from the sole cropping system.

Total C pools (including an assumed barley C pool of 3.4 and 2.9 t
C ha−1 within the sole cropping and the intercropping systems
respectively) were 96.5, 75.3, and 68.5 t C ha−1 within poplar,
spruce intercropping and in barley sole cropping systems, respectively.

Estimated net C fluxes for the poplar and spruce intercropping systems
and for the barley sole cropping system in 2002 were +13.2, +1.1,
and −2.9 t C ha−1 y−1, respectively.

These results suggest that intercropping systems have a greater
potential in reducing the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration
compared to sole cropping systems.

Key words

C pools and fluxes - C sequestration - Greenhouse gases -
Inter (alley) cropping - Sole cropping - Temperate zone


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