U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Document Type


Date of this Version



Land Degrad. Develop. (2017), DOI: 10.1002/ldr.2808.


U.S. government work.


This study provides a comparative assessment of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions when converting a reclaimed minesoil that was previously under meadow to miscanthus (Miscanthus × giganteus) and maize (Zea mays L.) land uses in Ohio, USA. Additionally, effluent from an anaerobic digester at rates of 0, 75, 150, and 225 kg N ha-1 rates was also assessed for C and nutrient fertilization. Results from the study show that land use conversion to maize had the highest net release of GHG equivalent of 6·6 Mg CO2equ ha-1 y-1, on average, across effluent application rates. Under miscanthus land use with no and high effluent application rates, net GHG equivalent on average was 4·3 Mg CO2equ ha-1 y-1, which was larger when compared with that under the meadow land use (1·6 Mg CO2equ ha-1 y-1). Miscanthus land use under medium rates of effluent application had similar net GHG equivalent (7·1 Mg CO2equ ha-1 y-1) to the maize land use. The application of effluent did increase CO2–C and N2O–N emissions; but increases in above-ground–below-ground biomass production (1·6 Mg C ha-1) in the meadow land use and C input from effluent retained in the soil in the miscanthus and maize land uses offset most of the effluent-induced GHG equivalent emissions. Contribution of cumulative N2O–N to GHG equivalent emissions in general was 11% when no effluent was applied and 22% when effluent was applied across land uses. Findings from this study show that land use changes from antecedent meadow to maize and miscanthus during the first year of establishment would result in net increase of GHG emissions.