Does liming grasslands increase biomass productivity without causing detrimental impacts on net greenhouse gas emissions?

Mohamed Abdalla* (Corresponding Author), Mikk Espenberg, Laura Zavattaro, Eszter Lellei-Kovacs, Ulo Mander, Kate Smith, Rachel Thorman, Claudia Damatirca, Rene Schils, Hein ten-Berge, Paul Newell-Price, Pete Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
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Soil acidification has negative impacts on grass biomass production and the potential of grasslands to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Through a global review of research on liming of grasslands, the objective of this paper was to assess the impacts of liming on soil pH, grass biomass production and total net GHG exchange (nitrous oxide (N2O), methane (CH4) and net carbon dioxide (CO2)). We collected 57 studies carried out at 88 sites and covering different countries and climatic zones. All of the studies examined showed that liming either reduced or had no effects on the emissions of two potent greenhouse gases (N2O and CH4). Though liming of grasslands can increase net CO2 emissions, the impact on total net GHG emission is minimal due to the higher global warming potential, over a 100-year period, of N2O and CH4 compared to that of CO2. Liming grassland delivers many potential advantages, which justify its wider adoption. It significantly ameliorates soil acidity, increases grass productivity, reduces fertiliser requirement and increases species richness. To realise the maximum benefit of liming grassland, we suggest that acidic soils should be moderately limed within the context of specific climates, soils and management.
Original languageEnglish
Article number118999
Number of pages15
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Early online date16 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022

Bibliographical note

This work contributes to the SUPER-G project (funded under EU Horizon 2020 programme). We appreciate the support from the Estonian Research Council (PRG352) and the European Regional Development Fund (Centre of Excellence EcolChange, Estonia).We are grateful to Sarah Perryman for proving us with pictures from the Park Grass Experiment.


  • Grassland
  • Lime
  • NO
  • CO
  • CH
  • SOC
  • Net greenhouse gas emissions


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