Soil CO2 Efflux Measurements by Alkali Absorption and Infrared Gas Analyzer in the Brazilian Semiarid Region

<div><p>ABSTRACT The CO2 emission from the soil surface, commonly referred to as soil CO2 efflux (ECO2) or soil respiration, is the sum of processes that include root respiration and microbial activity. Measuring this evolution is important to establish sustainable land use models and to estimate global fluxes of carbon, which affect climate change. Despite its importance, few measurements have been made in areas of the semiarid Brazilian Northeast region, and most of them were made using the alkali absorption method (AA), which can underestimate ECO2. Measurements using AA were compared to measurements using the infrared gas analyzer method (IRGA) over ten months (in rainy and dry seasons), during the day and night, in areas of Caatinga (xeric shrubland and thorn forest) and pasture in the Agreste region of the state of Pernambuco. The ECO2 measurements from AA varied little from night to day and throughout the year or in the rainy and dry seasons. However, those obtained from IRGA were higher in the rainy than in the dry season, but also without significant differences from day to night. The values of both methods were similar in the dry season, but in the rainy season they were higher with the IRGA. Therefore, AA seems to have little sensitivity to seasonal variations, in contrast with measurements from the IRGA, and it may underestimate soil ECO2 when it attains higher values. This result indicates that some of the soil ECO2 values determined in areas of the Brazilian semiarid region, and consequently annual C losses, may have been underestimated.</p></div>