Carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions in urban turf
Article first published online: 22 JAN 2010
Copyright 2010 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 37, Issue 2, January 2010
How to Cite
2010), Carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions in urban turf, Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L02707, doi:10.1029/2009GL041675., and (
- Issue published online: 22 JAN 2010
- Article first published online: 22 JAN 2010
- Manuscript Accepted: 22 DEC 2009
- Manuscript Revised: 21 DEC 2009
- Manuscript Received: 5 NOV 2009
- carbon sequestration;
- nitrous oxide;
- greenhouse gas emissions
 Undisturbed grasslands can sequester significant quantities of organic carbon (OC) in soils. Irrigation and fertilization enhance CO2 sequestration in managed turfgrass ecosystems but can also increase emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases (GHGs). To better understand the GHG balance of urban turf, we measured OC sequestration rates and emission of N2O (a GHG ∼ 300 times more effective than CO2) in Southern California, USA. We also estimated CO2 emissions generated by fuel combustion, fertilizer production, and irrigation. We show that turf emits significant quantities of N2O (0.1–0.3 g N m−2 yr−1) associated with frequent fertilization. In ornamental lawns this is offset by OC sequestration (140 g C m−2 yr−1), while in athletic fields, there is no OC sequestration because of frequent surface restoration. Large indirect emissions of CO2 associated with turfgrass management make it clear that OC sequestration by turfgrass cannot mitigate GHG emissions in cities.