• Bowen ratio versus canopy chamber CO2 fluxes on sagebrush rangeland

      Johnson, D. A.; Saliendra, N. Z.; Walker, J. W.; Hendrickson, J. R. (Society for Range Management, 2003-09-01)
      Because of their expansiveness, sagebrush (Artemisia spp.)-steppe rangelands could contribute significantly to the global carbon budget. However, it is important to determine if there are differences between methods for determining CO2 fluxes on these rangelands. The objective of this study was to compare the Bowen ratio-energy balance and canopy chamber techniques for measuring CO2 fluxes in a sagebrush-steppe ecosystem. A Bowen ratio-energy balance system was installed at a sagebrush-steppe site near Dubois, Ida., U.S.A to continuously measure the vertical gradients of air temperature, water vapor, and CO2 concentration in conjunction with associated micrometeorological characteristics. The canopy chamber technique, which employed a 1-m2 (1,020 liter) clear plexiglass/plastic film chamber in combination with a portable gas exchange system, was used periodically during May through August across 4 years (1996-1999) to obtain instantaneous measurements of CO2 fluxes across 3 replicate blocks during a 2-min. measurement period. For the same measurement dates and times across the 4 years of study, CO2 fluxes ranged from -0.22 to 0.55 mg m-2 sec-1 for the Bowen ratio-energy balance technique and from -0.18 to 0.48 mg m-2 sec-1 for the canopy chamber technique. Estimates of CO2 fluxes by the 2 techniques were not statistically different (P > 0.05) for the early (May) and mid-season (June to mid-July) portions of the growing season; however, fluxes measured by the 2 techniques were significantly different (P 0.05) for the late-season period (late-July to late-August). Despite this difference during the hot-dry, late-season period, flux estimates from the 2 techniques were significantly and positively correlated during the early (r2 = 0.71), mid- (r2 = 0.88), and late- (r2 = 0.72) season periods. Thus, both techniques showed similar patterns of CO2 fluxes at our sagebrush-steppe study site across 4 years of study, although caution should be used when the canopy chamber technique is used during hot, dry conditions.