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Compost spreading in Mediterranean shrubland indirectly increases biogenic emissions by promoting growth of VOC-emitting plant parts

Abstract : We investigated the effect of sewage sludge compost spreading on plant growth and leaf terpene emissions and content of Quercus coccifera, Rosmarinus officinalis and Cistus albidus in a Mediterranean shrubland. Measurements were performed during 3 consecutive summers on 2 different plots treated in 2002 or 2007 with 50 or 100 tons of compost per hectare, corresponding to observations carried out 2 months to 7 years after spreading. A slight nutrient enrichment of soil and leaves (R. officinalis and C. albidus) was observed, especially for phosphorous. Terpene emissions were not affected by compost spreading, although they tended to increase on treated plots after 6 and 7 years for R. officinalis and C. albidus respectively. Terpene content was not affected by any compost treatment. Leaf and stem growth were significantly enhanced by compost spreading after 2 and/or 7 years in all species with little difference between doses. Total leaf biomass on the last growth units was increased by more than 50% in C. albidus and more than 90% in Q. coccifera. The results suggest that compost spreading in Meditteranean shrublands has no or little direct effect on leaf terpene emissions, but indirectly leads to their increase through leaf biomass enhancement. Simulation of terpene emissions at stand level revealed an increase of terpene fluxes ranging between 6 and 13%, depending on the plant species. Overall, compost spreading was assessed to result in an emission rate of 1.1 kg ha−1 y−1 for a typical Q. coccifera shrubland, but can reach 2.6 kg ha−1 y−1 for a typical R. officinalis shrubland.
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Romain Olivier, Anne-Violette Lavoir, Elena Ormeño, Florent Mouillot, Stephane Greff, et al.. Compost spreading in Mediterranean shrubland indirectly increases biogenic emissions by promoting growth of VOC-emitting plant parts. Atmospheric Environment, Elsevier, 2011, 45 (21), pp.3631-3639. ⟨10.1016/j.atmosenv.2011.03.060⟩. ⟨hal-01764826⟩

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