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Review article - Peer-reviewed, 1997

Greenhouse gas emissions from farmed organic soils: a review

Kasimir Klemedtsson, Åsa; Klemendtsson, Leif; Berglund, Kerstin; Martikainen, P.; Silvola, J.; Oenema, O.


The large boreal peatland ecosystems sequester carbon and nitrogen from the atmosphere due to a low oxygen pressure in waterlogged peat. Consequently they are sinks for CO(2) and strong emitters of CH(4). Drainage and cultivation of peatlands allows oxygen to enter the soil, which initiates decomposition of the stored organic material, and in turn CO(2) and N(2)O emissions increase while CH(4) emissions decrease. Compared to undrained pear, draining of organic soils for agricultural purposes increases the emissions of greenhouse gases (CO(2), CH(4) and N(2)O) by roughly it CO(2) equivalents/ha per year. Although farmed organic soils in most European countries represent a minor part of the total agricultural area, these soils contribute significantly to national greenhouse gas budgets. Consequently, farmed organic soils are potential targets for policy makers in search of socially acceptable and economically cost-efficient measures to mitigate climate gas emissions from agriculture. Despite a scarcity of knowledge about greenhouse gas emissions from these soils, this paper addresses the emissions and possible control of the three greenhouse gases by different managements of organic soils. More precise information is needed regarding the present trace gas fluxes from these soils, as well as predictions of future emissions under alternative management regimes, before any definite policies can be devised.


greenhouse gases; emission; agricultural soils; organic soils; reviews

Published in

Soil Use and Management
1997, volume: 13, number: 4, pages: 245-250

Authors' information

Kasimir Klemedtsson, Åsa
University of Gothenburg
Klemendtsson, Leif
University of Gothenburg
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Soil Sciences
Martikainen, P.
University of Kuopio
Silvola, J.
University of Joensuu (JoY)
Oenema, O.
DLO Research Institute for Agrobiology and Soil Fertility (AB-DLO)

UKÄ Subject classification

Soil Science

Publication Identifiers


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