The effects of peat burning on organic-rich agricultural soils of the Mezzano Lowland (NE Italy) were evaluated on soil profiles variously affected by smoldering. Profiles were investigated for pH, electrical conductivity, bulk density, elemental and isotopic composition of distinct carbon (and nitrogen) fractions. The results suggest that the horizons affected by carbon loss lie at depths 10–70 cm, where the highest temperatures are developed. We suggest that the exothermal oxidation of methane (mediated by biological activity) plays a significant role in the triggering mechanism. In the interested soils we estimated a potential loss of Soil Organic Carbon of approximately 110 kg m−2 within the first meter, corresponding to 580 kg CO2 m−3. The released greenhouse gas is coupled with a loss of soil structure and nutrients. Moreover, the process plausibly triggers mobility of metals bound in organometallic complexes. All these consequences negatively affect the environment, the agricultural activities and possibly also health of the local people.

Peat Soil Burning in the Mezzano Lowland (Po Plain, Italy): Triggering Mechanisms and Environmental Consequences

Bianchini G.
Secondo
;
Salani G. M.;Brombin V.;
2021

Abstract

The effects of peat burning on organic-rich agricultural soils of the Mezzano Lowland (NE Italy) were evaluated on soil profiles variously affected by smoldering. Profiles were investigated for pH, electrical conductivity, bulk density, elemental and isotopic composition of distinct carbon (and nitrogen) fractions. The results suggest that the horizons affected by carbon loss lie at depths 10–70 cm, where the highest temperatures are developed. We suggest that the exothermal oxidation of methane (mediated by biological activity) plays a significant role in the triggering mechanism. In the interested soils we estimated a potential loss of Soil Organic Carbon of approximately 110 kg m−2 within the first meter, corresponding to 580 kg CO2 m−3. The released greenhouse gas is coupled with a loss of soil structure and nutrients. Moreover, the process plausibly triggers mobility of metals bound in organometallic complexes. All these consequences negatively affect the environment, the agricultural activities and possibly also health of the local people.
Natali, C.; Bianchini, G.; Cremonini, S.; Salani, G. M.; Vianello, G.; Brombin, V.; Ferrari, M.; Vittori Antisari, L.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11392/2473317
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