Soil Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Australian Sports

Managed turf is a potential net source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, including turf used on sports fields and at sport stadiums. While most studies to date have focused on non-sports turf, sports turf may pose an even greater risk of high GHG emissions due to the generally more intensive fertiliser, irrigation and mowing regimes. Using sophisticated automated chambers to capture nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane (CH4) emissions from three sports fields in Melbourne, in southern Australia, we measured GHG emissions from these sports fields over 213 days (autumn to late spring). At a sports field monitored at least weekly, the average daily N2O emission was 37.6 g N ha-1 day-1. Cumulative N2O emission was 2.5 times higher than the adjacent non-sports turf. Less frequent seasonal sampling at two other sports fields showed average N2O daily emissions ranging from 26 to 90 g N ha-1 day-1. CH4 emissions at all of the sports fields were generally negligible with the exception of brief periods when soil was waterlogged following heavy rainfall where emissions of up to 1.3 kg C ha-1 day-1 were recorded. Controlled release and nitrification inhibitor containing fertilisers didn’t reduce N2O, CH4 or CO2 emissions relative to urea in a short term experiment. The N2O emissions from the sports fields, and even the lower emissions from the non-sports turf, were relatively high compared to other land uses in Australia highlighting the importance of accounting for these emissions at a national level and investigating mitigation practices. The results of this study suggest that sport facilities with managed sports turf may be possible in many sport facilities where intensive fertiliser, irrigation and mowing regimes are present.


CITE: Riches, D., Porter, I., Dingle, G., Gendall, A., & Grover, S. (2020). Soil greenhouse gas emissions from Australian sports fields.

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