Ecosystem scale carbon dioxide balance of two grasslands in Hungary under different weather conditions

Krisztina Pintér, J. Balogh, Z. Nagy

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The carbon balance of the sandy pasture (Bugac) and the mountain meadow (Mátra) varied between -171 and 96 gC m-2 year-1, and -194 and 14 gC m-2 year-1, respectively, during the study period (2003-2009). Large part of interannual variability of net ecosystem exchange (NEE) was explained by the variation of the annual sum of precipitation in the sandy grassland ecosystem, while this relationship was weaker in the case of the mountain meadow on heavy clay soil. These different responses are largely explained by soil texture characteristics leading to differences in soil water contents available to plants at the two grasslands. The grassland on heavy clay soil was more sensitive to temporal distribution of rainfall for the same reason. The mountain meadow therefore seems to be more vulnerable to droughts, while the sandy grassland is better adapted to water shortage. The precipitation threshold (annual sum), below which the grassland turns into source of carbon dioxide on annual basis, is only 50-80 mm higher than the 10 years average precipitation sum. In extremely dry years (2003, 2007 and 2009), even the sandy grassland ecosystem was not stable enough to maintain its sink character.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-135
Number of pages6
JournalActa biologica Hungarica
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2010



  • Grassland
  • eddy covariance
  • effect of drought
  • net ecosystem exchange
  • soil type

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Neurology

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