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Keywords:

  • background emission;
  • emission factor;
  • fallow;
  • fertilizer;
  • trade-off;
  • water regime

Abstract

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. 1. Introduction
  4. 2. Materials and Methods
  5. 3. Results and Discussion
  6. 4. Conclusions
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. References

[1] Rice cultivation is an important anthropogenic source of atmospheric nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane. We compiled and analyzed data on N2O emissions from rice fields (113 measurements from 17 sites) reported in peer-reviewed journals. Mean N2O emission ± standard deviation and mean fertilizer-induced emission factor during the rice-cropping season were, respectively, 341 ± 474 g N ha−1 season−1 and 0.22 ± 0.24% for fertilized fields continuously flooded, 993 ± 1075 g N ha−1 season−1 and 0.37 ± 0.35% for fertilized fields with midseason drainage, and 667 ± 885 g N ha−1 season−1 and 0.31 ± 0.31% for all water regimes. The estimated whole-year background emission was 1820 g N ha−1 yr−1. A large uncertainty remains, especially for background emission because of limited data availability. Although midseason drainage generally reduces CH4 and increases N2O emissions, it may be an effective option for mitigating the net global warming potential of rice fields.

1. Introduction

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. 1. Introduction
  4. 2. Materials and Methods
  5. 3. Results and Discussion
  6. 4. Conclusions
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. References

[2] Agricultural soil is a major source of nitrous oxide (N2O). N2O is a greenhouse gas, and it contributes to the destruction of stratospheric ozone. Early studies found N2O emission from paddy fields to be negligible [e.g., Smith et al., 1982]. However, recent studies suggest that rice cultivation is an important anthropogenic source of not only atmospheric methane (CH4) but also N2O [e.g., Cai et al., 1997].

[3] The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) developed Revised 1996 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories [IPCC, 1997] and Good Practice Guidance and Uncertainty Management in National Greenhouse Gas Inventories [IPCC, 2000] for calculating national inventories of greenhouse gases [IPCC, 1997, 2000]. The current IPCC guidelines use a default fertilizer-induced emission factor (EF) of 1.25% of net N input (based on the unvolatilized portion of the applied N) and a background emission rate for direct emission from agricultural soil of 1 kg N ha−1 yr−1 [IPCC, 1997]. In the guidelines, rice paddy fields were not distinguished from upland fields. However, Bouwman et al. [2002] reported on the basis of data published before 1999 that mean N2O emission from rice paddy fields (0.7 kg N2O-N ha−1 yr−1) was lower than that from upland fields, including grasslands (1.1 to 2.9 kg N2O-N ha−1 yr−1). Yan et al. [2003] reported on the basis of data published before 2000 that the EF for rice paddy fields, at 0.25% of total N input, was also lower than that for upland fields, and a background emission of 1.22 kg N2O-N ha−1 yr−1 for paddy fields. More measurements of N2O emission from rice fields have since been performed, although the number of field measurements is still relatively small compared with those of CH4 emission from rice paddy fields or N2O emission from upland fields. The guidelines are due to be updated in 2006, and a simple method for estimating N2O emission from rice fields is urgently needed. Therefore the aim of this study was to assess field measurements available to date to provide a quantitative basis for estimating national or regional N2O emission inventories. Available data on tested options for mitigating N2O emissions from paddy fields were also reviewed.

2. Materials and Methods

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. 1. Introduction
  4. 2. Materials and Methods
  5. 3. Results and Discussion
  6. 4. Conclusions
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. References

2.1. Data Collection

[4] We compiled measurement results of direct N2O emission from rice fields published in peer-reviewed journals before summer 2004; the initial data set comprised 147 field measurements of N2O collected during the rice-cropping or fallow season from 29 sites. Measurements from atypically managed fields [e.g., Xu et al., 2004], those collected over a period significantly shorter than the cropping season [e.g., Freney et al., 1981], and those in which the measurement period was not specified [e.g., Xing and Zhu, 1997] were excluded. Two data points that were statistical outliers were also excluded [Khalil et al., 1998; Zheng et al., 2000]. In the end, the data set used for our assessment comprised 113 measurements from 17 sites.

[5] For each series of measurements, documented information compiled included the N2O emission during the cropping season and/or the fallow period, the water regime used during the cropping season, the type and amount of organic amendment and nitrogen fertilization, and the location of the field. The fertilizer-induced N2O emission factor (EF), defined as the emission from fertilizer plots minus that of a zero-N control plot, was calculated whenever a zero-N control plot was included in a reported experiment. If the seasonal flux was not directly reported, we estimated it by integrating the average emission over the season's duration or from figures showing the seasonal change in N2O fluxes.

[6] The water regime during the rice-cropping season was classified as continuous flooding, midseason drainage, wet-season rain-fed, or unknown. The water regime of fields drained one or more times during the rice-cropping season was classified as midseason drainage, because among the compiled measurements only one experiment [Bronson et al., 1997a] involved a single midseason drainage, and because the number of times a field was drained was not clearly documented in some papers. The water regime of fields drained only at the end of the season, without midseason drainage, was classified as continuous flooding, because in many experiments the continuous flooding treatment also included end-season drainage and because farmers usually drain the rice fields before harvest. To our knowledge, N2O measurements for deep-water rice fields are not available.

[7] When only the amount of organic material input was reported and not the actual N content, the N content (percent N, fresh weight) of the organic materials was estimated as follows: swine manure, 1.35%; cattle manure, 0.71%; rice straw compost, 0.417%; rice straw, 0.54%; wheat straw, 0.33%; vetch, 0.59%; and cowpea residue, 0.47% [National Federation of Agricultural Co-operative Associations, 1980; Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries of Japan (MAFF), 1982]. The N content of rice straw applied after harvesting the previous season's rice was assumed to be 50% that of rice straw applied just before rice cultivation. “Farmyard manure” was assumed to be cattle manure. N input by Azolla application [Chen et al., 1997] was estimated to be 50 kg ha−1.

2.2. Data Analysis

[8] To provide a quantitative basis for estimating national and regional N2O emissions from rice paddy fields, the mean, standard deviation, and median of N2O emission, EF, and background emission for the cropping season were calculated for each water regime.

[9] Available data covering the whole fallow period for estimating fallow period N2O emission were very limited. Therefore, hourly emissions were first calculated for each measurement series, and then the mean hourly emission was calculated after excluding data collected during a measurement period shorter than 50 days, because emissions values collected over a short period were much higher than those collected over a longer period. Finally, emission during the fallow period was calculated by integrating the mean hourly data over the entire period.

[10] Comparisons of mean emissions and EF values among different water regimes were made with SPSS version 12 using one-way analysis of variance followed by a Tukey multiple comparison test (SPSS, Inc.). When the data did not fit a normal distribution but fit a lognormal distribution, they were log-transformed before the statistical test.

3. Results and Discussion

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. 1. Introduction
  4. 2. Materials and Methods
  5. 3. Results and Discussion
  6. 4. Conclusions
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. References

3.1. N2O Emissions From Fertilized Fields During the Rice-Cropping Season

[11] For each water regime, N2O emissions from paddy fields with chemical or organic fertilizer application during the rice-cropping season showed large variation (Tables 1a, 1b, 1c, and 1d, Figure 1). N2O emission from continuously flooded fields was generally lower than 1000 g N ha−1 season−1, except in one case [Xu et al., 2004], and low emissions were reported even with large N inputs (>300 kg N ha−1) [Chen et al., 1997]. In contrast, large N2O emission (>1000 g N ha−1 season−1) was often reported for fields with midseason drainage. N2O emissions from rain-fed fields were reported only by Abao et al. [2000], and emissions differed among fertilizer treatments and also varied with year. The total N input was not clearly related to N2O emission for all water regimes or for continuous flooding. For fields drained midseason, a weak linear relationship was observed (adjusted r2 = 0.28, P < 0.01); that is, about 28% of the variability was explained by total N input. The amount of chemical N input was also not clearly related to N2O emission (data not shown). This result is not surprising because N2O emission is affected not only by N input and the water regime but also by many other factors such as fertilizer type, temperature, soil texture, and soil pH [e.g., Granli and Bockman, 1994; Bouwman et al., 2002], which could not be considered here because of limited data. Moreover, we classified all water regimes into one of three categories, but actual water management practices varied within each category, especially in the case of midseason drainage. Among fields with midseason drainage, the timing, number, and duration of drainage periods vary, and the timing and amount of rainfall greatly affect water management of even irrigated rice fields; furthermore, details of drainage practices were not documented in many papers. Food and Agriculture Organization/International Fertilizer Industry Association [2001] also found no clear relationship between the amount of chemical N input and N2O emissions in upland fields worldwide.

image

Figure 1. Relationships between total N input and N2O emission during the growing season for (a) all water regimes, including continuous flooding, midseason drainage, and rain-fed; (b) continuous flooding; (c) midseason drainage (MSD); and (d) rain-fed, wet season. Only Abao et al. [2000] reported data on a wet-season rain-fed water regime. Note that the scales of the axes differ among the graphs.

Download figure to PowerPoint

Table 1a. N2O Emissions From Paddy Fields During the Cropping Seasona
ReferenceCountryLocationType of Organic AmendmentbAmount of Organic Amendment, kg ha−1Type of Nitrogen FertilizercTested Mitigation OptiondAmount of Chemical N, kgN ha−1N2O Emission, gN ha−1Fertilizer-Induced N2O Emission Factor,e %
  • a

    Water regime: continuous flooding.

  • b

    Type of organic amendment: FYM, farmyard manure; GM, green manure.

  • c

    Fertilizer type: AS, ammonium sulfate; PN, potassium nitrate; U, urea; NH4+: complex fertilizer including NH4+.

  • d

    Mitigation options: DCD, dicyandiamide.

  • e

    Includes both chemical and organic fertilizers.

Xu et al. [2004]ChinaYancheng, Jiangsuno0U 2252150 
Chen et al. [1997]ChinaShenyangno0no 040 
Chen et al. [1997]ChinaShenyangno0U 374600.01
Chen et al. [1997]ChinaShenyangFYM37500U 374600.003
Chen et al. [1997]ChinaShenyangFYM, Azolla37500U 374600.003
Hou et al. [2000]ChinaShenyangFYM37500U 37439 
Ghosh et al. [2003]IndiaNew Delhino0no 038 
Ghosh et al. [2003]IndiaNew Delhino0U 1201680.11
Ghosh et al. [2003]IndiaNew Delhino0AS 1201510.09
Ghosh et al. [2003]IndiaNew Delhino0PN 1201870.12
Ghosh et al. [2003]IndiaNew Delhino0UDCD120800.03
Ghosh et al. [2003]IndiaNew Delhino0ASDCD120820.04
Ghosh et al. [2003]IndiaNew Delhino0PNDCD1201680.11
Pathak et al. [2002]IndiaNew Delhino0U 1207350.34
Pathak et al. [2002]IndiaNew DelhiFYM6000U 605930.45
Pathak et al. [2002]IndiaNew Delhino0UDCD1204830.09
Pathak et al. [2002]IndiaNew Delhino0no 0323 
Suratno et al. [1998]IndonesiaBogor, West Javano0no 0315 
Suratno et al. [1998]IndonesiaBogor, West Javano0U 866490.39
Suratno et al. [1998]IndonesiaBogor, West Javano0U 869050.69
Suratno et al. [1998]IndonesiaBogor, West Javano0no 0306 
Suratno et al. [1998]IndonesiaBogor, West Javano0U 867490.52
Suratno et al. [1998]IndonesiaBogor, West Javano0U 868590.64
Yagi et al. [1996]JapanRyugasaki, Ibarakistraw5000NH4+ 9065 
Bronson et al. [1997a]PhilippinesLos Bañosno0U 120131 
Bronson et al. [1997a]PhilippinesLos Bañosno0AS 12097 
Bronson et al. [1997a]PhilippinesLos BañosGM12000U 6055 
Bronson et al. [1997a]PhilippinesLos Bañosstraw5500U 8059 
Bronson et al. [1997a]PhilippinesLos Bañosno0U 200259 
Bronson et al. [1997a]PhilippinesLos Bañosstraw5500U 16028 
Smith et al. [1982]USALouisianano0no 074 
Smith et al. [1982]USALouisianano0U 901080.04
Smith et al. [1982]USALouisianano0U 1801710.05
Smith et al. [1982]USALouisianano0U 901090.04
Smith et al. [1982]USALouisianano0U 180900.01
Table 1b. N2O Emissions From Paddy Fields During the Cropping Seasona
ReferenceCountryLocationType of Organic AmendmentbAmount of Organic Amendment, kg ha−1Type of Nitrogen FertilizercTested Mitigation OptiondAmount of Chemical N, kgN ha−1N2O Emission, gN ha−1Fertilizer-Induced N2O Emission Factor,e %
  • a

    Water regime: midseason drainage.

  • b

    Type of organic amendment: SM, swine manure; FYM, farmyard manure; GM, green manure.

  • c

    Fertilizer type: ABC, ammonium bicarbonate; AS, ammonium sulfate; PN, potassium nitrate; U, urea; NH4+: complex fertilizer including NH4+.

  • d

    Mitigation options: DCD, dicyandiamide; NEU, neem-coated urea; NIU, nimin-coated urea; TS, thiosulfate.

  • e

    Both chemical and organic fertilizer are included.

Cai et al. [1999]ChinaFenqiuSM5000ABC, U 364.54416 
Cai et al. [1999]ChinaFenqiuSM5000ABC, U 364.52012 
Cai et al. [1999]ChinaFenqiuSM5000ABC, U 364.51706 
Cai et al. [1997]ChinaNanjingno0No 0137 
Cai et al. [1997]ChinaNanjingno0AS 1001750.04
Cai et al. [1997]ChinaNanjingno0AS 3009810.28
Cai et al. [1997]ChinaNanjingno0U 1001690.03
Cai et al. [1997]ChinaNanjingno0U 3006180.16
Xiong et al. [2002]ChinaYingtan, Jangxivetch33750U 27628100.66
Xiong et al. [2002]ChinaYingtan, Jangxivetch33750No 03000.10
Xiong et al. [2002]ChinaYingtan, Jangxino0U 2763500.03
Xiong et al. [2002]ChinaYingtan, Jangxino0No 0180 
Xiong et al. [2002]ChinaYingtan, Jangxino0U 2763400.04
Xiong et al. [2002]ChinaYingtan, Jangxino0No 0260 
Xiong et al. [2002]ChinaYingtan, Jangxino0U 2762800.02
Xiong et al. [2002]ChinaYingtan, Jangxino0No 0230 
Khalil et al. [1998]ChinaBeijingno0ABC 1252029 
Zheng et al. [2000]ChinaJiangsuno0ABC 19123890.87
Zheng et al. [2000]ChinaJiangsuno0ABC 19127071.04
Zheng et al. [2000]ChinaJiangsuno0ABC 19119540.64
Zheng et al. [2000]ChinaJiangsuno0No 0728 
Zheng et al. [2000]ChinaJiangsuno0No 0787 
Zheng et al. [2000]ChinaJiangsucompost10000U 17115870.40
Zheng et al. [2000]ChinaJiangsuno0U 19130111.16
Kumar et al. [2000]IndiaNew Delhino0No 046 
Kumar et al. [2000]IndiaNew Delhino0U 1401600.08
Kumar et al. [2000]IndiaNew Delhino0AS 1402350.14
Kumar et al. [2000]IndiaNew Delhino0UDCD1401420.07
Kumar et al. [2000]IndiaNew Delhino0ASDCD1401740.09
Kumar et al. [2000]IndiaNew Delhino0UTS1401470.07
Majumdar et al. [2000]IndiaNew Delhino0No 034 
Majumdar et al. [2000]IndiaNew Delhino0U 140600.02
Majumdar et al. [2000]IndiaNew Delhino0UDCD140490.01
Majumdar et al. [2000]IndiaNew Delhino0UNEU140570.02
Majumdar et al. [2000]IndiaNew Delhino0UNIU140530.01
Pathak et al. [2002]IndiaNew Delhino0U 1209290.52
Pathak et al. [2002]IndiaNew DelhiFYM6000U 607140.34
Pathak et al. [2002]IndiaNew Delhino0UDCD1205400.19
Pathak et al. [2002]IndiaNew Delhino0No 0307 
Suratno et al. [1998]IndonesiaBogor, West Javano0No 0425 
Suratno et al. [1998]IndonesiaBogor, West Javano0U 866190.22
Suratno et al. [1998]IndonesiaBogor, West Javano0U 867120.33
Suratno et al. [1998]IndonesiaBogor, West Javano0No 0484 
Suratno et al. [1998]IndonesiaBogor, West Javano0U 8610920.71
Suratno et al. [1998]IndonesiaBogor, West Javano0U 8610120.61
Yagi et al. [1996]JapanRyugasaki, Ibarakistraw5000NH4+ 9065 
Nishimura et al. [2004]JapanTsukuba, Ibarakistraw2100U 9026 
Bronson et al. [1997a]PhilippinesLos Bañosno0U 20089 
Bronson et al. [1997a]PhilippinesLos Bañosno0AS 200229 
Bronson et al. [1997a]PhilippinesLos BañosGM12000U 140121 
Bronson et al. [1997a]PhilippinesLos Bañosstraw5500U 16057 
Bronson et al. [1997a]PhilippinesLos Bañosno0U 200638 
Bronson et al. [1997a]PhilippinesLos Bañosstraw5500U 160165 
Table 1c. N2O Emissions From Paddy Fields During the Cropping Seasona
ReferenceCountryLocationType of Organic AmendmentbAmount of Organic Amendment, kg ha−1Type of Nitrogen FertilizercTested Mitigation OptiondAmount of Chemical N, kgN ha−1N2O Emission, gN ha−1Fertilizer-Induced N2O Emission Factor,e %
  • a

    Water regime: Rain-fed, wet season.

  • b

    Type of organic amendment: GM, green manure (cowpea residue in this case).

  • c

    Fertilizer type: U, urea.

  • d

    Mitigation options: slow-U, slow-release urea.

  • e

    Both chemical and organic fertilizer are included.

Abao et al. [2000]PhilippinesLos Bañosno0U 9097 
Abao et al. [2000]PhilippinesLos Bañosno0USlow-U904 
Abao et al. [2000]PhilippinesLos Bañosno0U 90249 
Abao et al. [2000]PhilippinesLos BañosGM3000U 30232 
Abao et al. [2000]PhilippinesLos Bañosno0U 90245 
Abao et al. [2000]PhilippinesLos Bañosstraw3000U 90115 
Table 1d. N2O Emissions From Paddy Fields During the Cropping Seasona
ReferenceCountryLocationType of Organic AmendmentAmount of Organic Amendment, kg ha−1Type of Nitrogen FertilizerTested Mitigation OptionAmount of Chemical N, kgN ha−1N2O Emission, gN ha−1Fertilizer Induced N2O Emission Factor, %
  • a

    Water regime: unknown.

Minami, 1987JapanKonosu, Ibarakino0unknown 100332 
Minami, 1987JapanTsukuba, Ibarakino0unknown 100551 
Minami, 1987JapanMito, Ibarakino0unknown 90270 

[12] Although N2O emissions from paddy fields cannot be described as a simple function of N input (Figure 1), a simple method is required for estimating national or regional N2O emission inventories, especially for the Tier 1 methodology of the IPCC guidelines. Also, we expect N2O emission to increase with N input under comparable conditions [e.g., Cai et al., 1997]. Therefore we calculated the mean and median N2O emission and the fertilizer-induced emission factor (EF), which is defined as the emission from fertilized plots minus that of a zero-N control plot (Table 2). The difference between the mean and median shows the skewness of the data distribution. Mean N2O emission ± standard deviation and EF for continuously flooded fields with chemical or organic fertilizer application during the rice-cropping season were 341 ± 474 g N ha−1 season−1 and 0.22 ± 0.24%, respectively. Mean N2O emission and EF for fields with midseason drainage and chemical or organic fertilizer application were 993 ± 1075 g N ha−1 season−1 and 0.37 ± 0.35%, respectively. Mean N2O emission and EF for all water regimes were 667 ± 885 g N ha−1 season−1 and 0.31 ± 0.31%, respectively. Mean N2O emission from continuously flooded fields was significantly lower than that from fields with midseason drainage, although N2O emissions within each water regime showed large variation. However, no significant difference in EF between the continuous flooding and midseason drainage water regimes was observed. Note that fewer EF data were available, because we were able to calculate EF only when zero-N control measurements were available. The mean N2O emission from rain-fed fields, provided only by Abao et al. [2000], was lower than but not significantly different from values for fields with other water regimes.

Table 2. N2O Emissions From Rice Paddy Fields With Chemical or Organic Fertilizer Applied During the Cropping Seasona
Water RegimeMeanbStandard DeviationMediannMaximumMinimum
  • a

    N2O emissions from tests of mitigation options are not included.

  • b

    Means followed by the same letter are not significantly different at P < 0.05.

  • c

    Includes “unknown” water regimes. Thus n of this category is greater than the sum of n for continuous flooding, midseason drainage, and rain-fed water regimes.

  • d

    ND, no data, because no zero-N control data were available.

N2O Emission, gN ha−1
Continuous flooding341a47413125215028
Midseason drainage993b107561935441626
Rain-fed, wet season188ab75232524997
All water regimesc66788525468441626
 
Fertilizer-Induced N2O Emission Factor, %
Continuous flooding0.22a0.240.10160.690.003
Midseason drainage0.37a0.350.28231.160.02
Rain-fed, wet seasondNDNDNDNDNDND
All water regimes0.310.310.16391.160.003

3.2. Background N2O Emissions

[13] Mean background N2O emission (emission from paddy fields without N fertilizer application) during the cropping season was not significantly different between continuous flooding and midseason drainage regimes (Table 3). Large variations were observed within each water regime even in background emissions, and relatively few experiments included zero-N control plots.

Table 3. N2O Emissions (in gN ha−1) From Rice Paddy Fields With No N Fertilizer Input During the Cropping Season
Water RegimeMeanaStandard DeviationMediannMaximumMinimum
  • a

    Means followed by the same letter are not significantly different at P < 0.05.

  • b

    ND, no data; because no zero-N control data were available.

Continuous flooding211a143306532338
Midseason drainage372a2842841284734
Rain-fed, wet seasonbNDNDNDNDNDND
All water regimes3252583061784734

[14] Data for emission during the fallow period are listed in Table 4. After excluding measurements obtained over periods shorter than 50 days, which were much higher than those obtained over longer periods, we calculated a mean emission of 24 μg m−2 h−1. Note that only one value (16.3 μg m−2 h−1 [Chen et al., 1997]) for a zero-N control plot during cropping season was available for the fallow period among the compiled data. On the basis of the mean hourly emission, the total N2O emission during the fallow period was estimated to be 1495 g N ha−1 period−1, when the cropping season was assumed to be 110 days long. The estimated emission for the fallow period has large uncertainty because the number of measurements was limited, although fallow rice fields are considered to be an important source of N2O. It is not clear why measured N2O emissions were higher during short measurement periods [Bronson et al., 1997b]. Note that winter cropping and dry season cropping after the rice harvest were not considered here. The background emission for an entire year was estimated as 1820 g N ha−1 yr−1 from the sum of the mean background emission for all water regimes and the estimated fallow period emission.

Table 4. N2O Emissions From Paddy Fields During the Fallow Period
ReferenceCountryLocationN2O Flux, μg m−2 h−1N2O Emission, gN ha−1Measurement Period in Fallow Season, Days
Chen et al. [1997]ChinaShenyang16.3904231
Chen et al. [1997]ChinaShenyang29.91660231
Chen et al. [1997]ChinaShenyang55.03050231
Hou et al. [2000]ChinaShenyang31.9888116
Zheng et al. [2000]ChinaJiangsu52.72895229
Nishimura et al. [2004]JapanTsukuba, Ibaraki10.6577226
Tsuruta et al. [1997]JapanRyuugasaki, Ibaraki9.9606254
Xiong et al. [2002]ChinaYingtan, Jangxi11.0430165
Xiong et al. [2002]ChinaYingtan, Jangxi18.1710165
Bronson et al. [1997b]PhilippinesLos Baños55.361046
Bronson et al. [1997b]PhilippinesLos Baños85.494346
Bronson et al. [1997b]PhilippinesLos Baños70.778046
Bronson et al. [1997b]PhilippinesLos Baños94.0103846
Bronson et al. [1997b]PhilippinesLos Baños198.3171336
Bronson et al. [1997b]PhilippinesLos Baños138.7119836
Bronson et al. [1997b]PhilippinesLos Baños211.5182736
Bronson et al. [1997b]PhilippinesLos Baños198.6171636
Bronson et al. [1997b]PhilippinesLos Baños9.019389
Bronson et al. [1997b]PhilippinesLos Baños7.516089
Bronson et al. [1997b]PhilippinesLos Baños8.518189
Bronson et al. [1997b]PhilippinesLos Baños16.936189
Abao et al. [2000]PhilippinesLos Baños39.748651
Abao et al. [2000]PhilippinesLos Baños33.741251
Abao et al. [2000]PhilippinesLos Baños23.140072
Abao et al. [2000]PhilippinesLos Baños32.456072
Abao et al. [2000]PhilippinesLos Baños34.259172
Abao et al. [2000]PhilippinesLos Baños23.540672
Abao et al. [2000]PhilippinesLos Baños19.4790170
Abao et al. [2000]PhilippinesLos Baños13.228590

3.3. Options for Mitigation of N2O Emissions From Rice Fields During the Rice-Cropping Season

[15] Among tested options for mitigation of N2O emissions from rice fields during the growing season (Table 5), nitrification inhibitors (dicyandiamide and thiosulfate) and slow-release urea significantly (P < 0.05) reduced N2O emissions, although the data are few and the effectiveness of each mitigation option showed large variation. Neem-coated urea and nimin-coated urea, which are supposed to have nitrification inhibition properties and to be more locally available in India, did not significantly reduce N2O emissions [Majumdar et al., 2000].

Table 5. Available Data on Possible Mitigation Options
ReferenceCountryLocationWater RegimeaNitrogen FertilizerbTested Mitigation OptioncAmount of Chemical N, kgN ha−1Emission of Tested Mitigation Option Plot,d %
  • a

    Water regime: MSD, midseason drainage; CF, continuous flooding; RF, rain-fed, wet-season.

  • b

    Fertilizer type: AS, ammonium sulfate; PN, potassium nitrate; U, urea.

  • c

    Mitigation options: DCD, dicyandiamide; NEU, neem-coated urea; NIU, nimin-coated urea; TS, thiosulfate; slow-U, slow-release urea.

  • d

    Fertilizer-induced N2O-N emission of the tested mitigation option plot compared with that of the conventional fertilizer plot.

  • e

    Significantly different from conventional fertilizer plot at P < 0.05 by Duncan's multiple range test. Statistical test results are from the original papers.

  • f

    Fertilizer-induced N2O emission could not be calculated because no zero-N control plot was available. Thus the percent of N2O-N emission (including background emission) from the tested mitigation option plot is compared with that from conventional fertilizer plot is shown.

Kumar et al. [2000]IndiaNew DelhiMSDUDCD14084e
Kumar et al. [2000]IndiaNew DelhiMSDASDCD14068e
Kumar et al. [2000]IndiaNew DelhiMSDUTS14089e
Majumdar et al. [2000]IndiaNew DelhiMSDUDCD14057e
Majumdar et al. [2000]IndiaNew DelhiMSDUNEU14089
Majumdar et al. [2000]IndiaNew DelhiMSDUNIU14074
Ghosh et al. [2003]IndiaNew DelhiCFUDCD12032e
Ghosh et al. [2003]IndiaNew DelhiCFASDCD12039e
Ghosh et al. [2003]IndiaNew DelhiCFPNDCD12087e
Pathak et al. [2002]IndiaNew DelhiCFUDCD12039e
Pathak et al. [2002]IndiaNew DelhiMSDUDCD12037e
Abao et al. [2000]PhilippinesLos BañosRFUSlow-U903e,f

3.4. Trade-Off of CH4 and N2O Emissions From Rice Paddy Fields

[16] Midseason drainage is considered to be an effective option for mitigating methane emissions from rice fields [e.g., Yagi et al., 1997]. A statistical analysis of a large field-measurement data set indicated that compared with continuous flooding, a single midseason aeration can reduce the average seasonal CH4 emission by 40%, and multiple aeration reduces it by 48% (X. Yan et al., Statistical analysis of the major variables controlling methane emission from rice fields, submitted to Global Change Biology, 2004) (hereinafter referred to as Yan et al., submitted manuscript, 2004). However, midseason drainage increases N2O emission by creating saturated or nearly saturated soil conditions, which promote N2O production [e.g., Zheng et al., 2000]. Cai et al. [1999] reported that the global warming potential (GWP) of N2O emissions was even higher than that of CH4 emissions from Chinese paddy fields with midseason drainage when large amounts of chemical fertilizer (364.5 kg N ha−1) or farmyard manure (5 t ha−1) were applied. Bronson et al. [1997a] found that the total GWP of continuously flooded fields was lower than that of fields drained midseason when no straw was applied, but it was higher when straw was applied.

[17] When CH4 emissions estimated by a statistical model proposed by Yan et al. (submitted manuscript, 2004) and mean N2O emissions calculated here (Table 2) were compared between continuous flooding and midseason drainage water regimes with no organic fertilizer or straw application (Table 6), midseason drainage appears to be generally the more effective option for mitigating net GWP; however, 15% to 20% of the benefit gained by decreasing CH4 emission was offset by the increase in N2O emission. Yan et al. (submitted manuscript, 2004) estimated that application of rice straw at 6 t ha−1 (dry weight) before rice planting, which is roughly all the rice straw harvested, would increase CH4 emission 3.1-fold, compared with that from soils without any organic amendment, for both continuous flooding and midseason drainage water regimes. Therefore, midseason drainage may also be an effective mitigation option when straw is applied.

Table 6. Comparison of Estimated CH4 Emission Determined by the Model of Yan et al. (submitted manuscript, 2004) and the Mean N2O Emission Found by This Study for Continuous Flooding and Midseason Drainage
 CH4 Emission, mg m−2 h−1CH4 Emission,a kg ha−1 Season−1N2O Emission, gN ha−1 Season−1CO2 Equivalent,b kg ha−1 Season−1Reduced GHG by Drainage, CO2 Equivalent, kg ha−1 Season−1
  • a

    The cropping season assumed to be 110 days.

  • b

    Calculated by using the global warming potential (GWP) for a time horizon of 100 years: CH4 = 23 and N2O = 296 [IPCC, 2001].

CH4Emission, Estimated From Model of Yan et al. (Without Organic Fertilizer or Straw)
Continuous flooding6.8180 4129 
Single drainage4.1108 24771652
Multiple drainage3.593 21471982
 
Mean N2O Emission by This Study (Without Organic Fertilizer but Including Plots With Straw Application)
Continuous flooding  361168 
Midseason drainage  1022475−307

[18] Li et al. [2004] also reported that midseason drainage reduces net GWP compared with continuous flooding; 65% of the benefit gained by decreasing CH4 emissions from rice fields in China was offset by an increase in N2O emissions, as determined by the denitrification-decomposition (DNDC) model. Frolking et al. [2004] used the DNDC model and an atmospheric model to simulate the effect of a change in water management from continuous flooding to midseason drainage on N2O and CH4 emissions from rice fields and the relative radiative impact over 500 years. They found that, initially, a change in radiative forcing was dominantly the result of a decrease in CH4 emissions, but long-term radiative forcing was dominantly the result of the increase of N2O emissions; thus, an initial 36-year cooling effect was followed by a long-term warming effect (e.g., 100 years or longer). They also suggested that the overall complexity of the radiative forcing response to the change in water management could not be captured by conventional GWP calculations.

3.5. Seasonal Pattern of N2O Emissions From Rice Fields

[19] We tried to find a general seasonal pattern of N2O emissions from paddy fields during the rice-cropping period even though many different patterns were reported. We assessed figures showing seasonal changes in N2O flux for measurement series that include data on chemical or organic fertilizer input and measurements from zero-N control plots, but excluded mitigation option experiments.

[20] One or more N2O peaks after transplanting or sowing were observed in about 70% of 79 measurements. During the flooded period, N2O peaks were reported in about 35% of measurements. N2O peaks were also reported in about 50% of measurements associated with an end-season drainage period, which is common practice both for middle season drainage and continuous flooding regimes.

[21] In the case of fields with midseason drainage, N2O peaks were observed in 51 of 52 measurements during the midseason drainage period. N2O peaks have been generally observed after top dressing application [e.g., Cai et al., 1999], but some reports showed N2O peaks during the midseason drainage that were not related to the application of top dressing [e.g., Cai et al., 1997; Xiong et al., 2002]. Zheng et al. [2000] reported that N2O emission peaked during the midseason drainage and suggested that soil moisture is the most sensitive factor regulating N2O emissions. They reported explosive emissions of N2O when soil moisture was near 110% of the soil water holding capacity or the water-filled pore space was 99%. It is notable that N2O peaks during the midseason drainage have been reported for both fertilized and unfertilized fields [e.g., Cai et al., 1997], but N2O peaks from unfertilized fields are generally smaller than those from fertilized fields. In contrast, no N2O peak was reported by Yagi et al. [1996] during the midseason drainage in Japan, even after the application of top dressing.

[22] After the rice has been harvested, large N2O peaks are commonly observed; in many cases, these peaks are larger than those observed during the cropping season [e.g., Hou et al., 2000; Nishimura et al., 2004]. Most measurements, however, were terminated at harvest and thus did not capture N2O emissions afterward.

[23] Although water management has a large effect on N2O emission [e.g., Zheng et al., 2000], this pattern analysis can be expected to contain errors caused by the difficulty of determining the water regime, because details of water management (timing, number, and duration of drainage) were not described in many papers. In only seven papers among those reviewed were the seasonal changes in water depth for the entire cropping period reported [Yagi et al., 1996; Cai et al., 1997, 1999; Suratno et al., 1998; Zheng et al., 2000; Ghosh et al., 2003; Nishimura et al., 2004]. In addition, details of fertilizer management (timing and application method for both basal and supplemental fertilizer application, N content of organic fertilizer) or the actual cropping period (date of transplanting and harvest) were not described in some papers.

3.6. Other Factors Affecting N2O Emissions From Rice Fields

[24] N2O emissions from rice paddy fields are affected by many factors, including type of fertilizer, climate, and soil type. However, those factors were not considered here because of limited data availability. For example, fertilizer type varied little; most measurements were from fields to which urea had been applied as fertilizer. Interannual variation was also not considered here, even though large interannual variation in N2O emissions from rice fields has been reported [e.g., Khalil et al., 1998].

[25] This analysis is also affected by the water regime classification scheme. We classified the water regime into three categories, but actual water management is more varied, especially in the case of midseason drainage. Local practices regarding the timing, number, and duration of drainage periods vary by region, and the timing and amount of rainfall greatly affect water management even for irrigated rice fields. Moreover, the details of drainage were not documented in many papers.

[26] Some of the data were obtained by automated N2O flux monitoring [Bronson et al., 1997a, 1997b; Abao et al., 2000; Zheng et al., 2000; Nishimura et al., 2004]. Those results showed sharp peaks in N2O emissions from paddy fields, especially during periods of intermittent drainage. Most of the available data, however, were obtained manually once or twice a week by the static chamber method, so sharp peaks might have been missed, causing seasonal N2O emissions to be underestimated. Also, only two papers reported measurements covering the entire year [Zheng et al., 2000; Nishimura et al., 2004], although many data were available on N2O emissions during the rice-cropping period.

4. Conclusions

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. 1. Introduction
  4. 2. Materials and Methods
  5. 3. Results and Discussion
  6. 4. Conclusions
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. References

[27] We reviewed published reports of N2O emissions from rice paddy fields and tried to establish a quantitative basis on which to develop national or regional emission inventories. We propose a value of 0.31 ± 0.31% for the fertilizer-induced emission factor during the rice-cropping period and a value of 1820 g N ha−1 yr−1 for background emission for an entire year. The estimated background emission value has large uncertainty, because available measurements were very limited, especially for the fallow period, even though fallow rice fields are considered an important source of N2O.

[28] Midseason drainage is an effective option for mitigating methane emissions and net GWP from rice fields, although mean N2O emission is increased by midseason drainage compared with continuous flooding. Available data on tested options for the mitigation of emissions from rice fields during the growing season were also assessed. Although few data are available, we found that application of a nitrification inhibitor or slow-release urea significantly reduced N2O emissions. More field measurements, especially for the entire year, including the fallow period, and experiments that include a zero-N control are required for further analyses.

Acknowledgments

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. 1. Introduction
  4. 2. Materials and Methods
  5. 3. Results and Discussion
  6. 4. Conclusions
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. References

[29] This work was supported by the Global Environment Research Fund, Ministry of the Environment, Japan.

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  2. Abstract
  3. 1. Introduction
  4. 2. Materials and Methods
  5. 3. Results and Discussion
  6. 4. Conclusions
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. References
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