Delta-Flux: An Eddy Covariance Network for a Climate-Smart Lower Mississippi Basin Page: 1
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Published online February 23, 2017
" The Lower Mississippi River Basin (LMRB) is
agriculturally important and ecologically
" The Delta-Flux network will coordinate the
activities of 17 eddy covariance towers.
- The network addresses the need for scaled C
and water cycle observations.
" The network aims to promote sustainable,
climate-smart land management.
" Delta-Flux is open to collaborators from
strategic sites and relevant disciplines.
B.R.K. Runkle and K. Suvocarev, Dep. of Biological
& Agricultural Engineering, Univ. of Arkansas,
Fayetteville, AR; J.R. Rigby and M.A. Locke, USDA-
ARS, National Sedimentation Laboratory, Oxford,
MS; M.L. Reba, USDA-ARS, Delta Water Management
Research Unit, Jonesboro, AR; S.S. Anapalli and
R. Sui, USDA-ARS, Crop Production Systems
Research Unit, Stoneville, MS; J. Bhattacharjee,
Dep. of Biology, Univ. of Louisiana, Monroe, LA;
K.W. Krauss, US Geological Survey, Wetland and
Aquatic Research Center, Lafayette, LA; L. Liang,
Arkansas Forest Resources Center, Univ. of Arkansas
Division of Agriculture, School of Forestry and
Natural Resources, Univ. of Arkansas at Monticello,
Monticello, AR; K.A. Novick, School of Public and
Environmental Affairs, Indiana Univ., Bloomington,
IN; P.M. White, Jr., USDA-ARS, Sugarcane Research
Unit, Houma, LA.
Copyright American Society of Agronomy, Crop
Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of
America. 5585 Guilford Rd., Madison, WI 53711 USA.
This is an open access article distributed under the
terms of the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecom-
Agric. Environ. Lett. 2:170003 (2017)
Received 18 Jan. 2017.
Accepted 10 Feb. 2017.
*Corresponding author (email@example.com).
Delta-Flux: An Eddy Covariance Network for
a Climate-Smart Lower Mississippi Basin
Benjamin R. K. Runkle,* James R. Rigby, Michele L. Reba, Saseendran S.
Anapalli, Joydeep Bhattacharjee, Ken W. Krauss, Lu Liang, Martin A. Locke,
Kimberly A. Novick, Ruixiu Sui, Kosana Suvocarev, and Paul M. White, Jr.
Abstract: Networks of remotely monitored research sites are increasingly the tool
used to study regional agricultural impacts on carbon and water fluxes. However,
key national networks such as the National Ecological Observatory Network and
AmeriFlux lack contributions from the Lower Mississippi River Basin (LMRB), a
highly productive agricultural area with opportunities for soil carbon sequestration
through conservation practices. The authors describe the rationale to create the new
Delta-Flux network, which will coordinate efforts to quantify carbon and water
budgets at seventeen eddy covariance flux tower sites in the LMRB. The network
structure will facilitate climate-smart management strategies based on production-
scale and continuous measurements of carbon and water fluxes from the landscape
to the atmosphere under different soil and water management conditions. The
seventeen instrumented field sites are expected to monitor fluxes within the most
characteristic landscapes of the target area: row-crop fields, pasture, grasslands,
forests, and marshes. The network participants are committed to open collaboration
and efficient regionalization of site-level findings to support sustainable agricultural
and forestry management and conservation of natural resources.
T HE LOWER Mississippi River Basin's (LMRB) alluvial plain (known
regionally as the Delta) is a highly productive agricultural region char-
acterized by a broad range of cropland, including row crops, pasture,
and softwood timber. It also contains swaths of the remaining bottomland
hardwoods in the region. Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi together gener-
ate $19.5 billion of the United States' $403 billion in agricultural sector output;
this production includes 70% of the rice (Oryza sativa L.), 40% of the sugarcane
(Saccharum officinarum L.), and 19% of the food grains grown in the United
States (USDA-ERS, 2017). The LMRB's high level of agricultural productivity,
supported by warm, humid conditions and copious water resources, creates
an important regional carbon sink through substantial photosynthetic fixation
of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and its subsequent storage as biomass
and as soil organic matter, although studies focusing on this region are lacking.
The region offers additional opportunities for sequestering carbon into the soil
through land management such as higher-yielding cropping systems, efficient
tillage strategies, and cover or intercropping methods that are climate smart
(Franzluebbers, 2005) and thus consider future food security in changing envi-
ronments. However, higher soil temperatures and abundant water also facili-
tate the decomposition of plant residues and the mineralization of soil organic
matter through heterotrophic respiration. The balance between soil carbon
sequestration and ecosystem respiration therefore requires a significant expan-
sion of observation-based inquiry.
The magnitude of the regional carbon sink is largely unknown due to the
complexity and ephemeral nature of the agricultural and natural landscapes.
The region's potential to sequester carbon in soil will likely be sensitive to a
number of ongoing and substantial changes to the agricultural landscape.
Abbreviations: BESS, Breathing Earth System Simulator; ET, evapotranspiration; GPP, gross
primary productivity; LMRB, Lower Mississippi River Basin; LTAR, Long-Term Agroecosystem
Research; MODIS, Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer.
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Runkle, Benjamin R. K.; Rigby, James R.; Reba, Michele L.; Anapalli, Saseendran S.; Bhattacharjee, Joydeep; Krauss, Ken W. et al. Delta-Flux: An Eddy Covariance Network for a Climate-Smart Lower Mississippi Basin, article, February 23, 2017; Madison, Wisconsin. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1234363/m1/1/: accessed March 26, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Arts and Sciences.