CO2 and temperature effects
Sheep grazing elevated CO2 pasture
A unique New Zealand climate change experiment: impacts and adaptation in pastoral systems
Experimentation is essential because the projected changes in our environment have not been experienced before. Indoor experiments cannot give us the answer. Our FACE (Free Air Carbon Dioxide Enrichment) is a unique facility because it is the only climate change experiment in the world that includes grazing animals.
The experiment has been going for 13 years and we have now included temperature treatment.
How does it work?
The use of smoke to show how C02 is dispersed
CO2 is released through a network of pipes into the ambient airstream. As the wind speed and direction change, the system tracks these changes and adjusts the release point and rate of CO2 injection.
Warming is achieved using passive screens that trap radiant energy.
Some important effects
Over time, elevated CO2 levels cause a reduction in the nitrogen available for plant growth and marked changes in botanical composition.
Lower N2O emissions under elevated CO2 molecular biology techniques also identified different bacteria communities under the CO2 treatments.
Testing impacts and adaptation
A passive warming system
The FACE experiment can be used to directly test important technologies such as nitrification inhibitors and the biocontrol of clover root weevil.
For example, will current biocontrol methods still be just as effective in a future environment, and how will high-sugar grasses perform?