Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Agricultural System and Green Infrastructures: Mechanisms and Mitigation Measures

A special issue of Agriculture (ISSN 2077-0472). This special issue belongs to the section "Ecosystem, Environment and Climate Change in Agriculture".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 May 2024) | Viewed by 8616

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Agriculture, Food, Environment and Forestry (DAGRI), University of Florence, Piazzale delle Cascine, 18, 50144 Florence, Italy
Interests: greenhouse gas emissions; digestate; agronomy

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Guest Editor
Department of Agronomy, Food, Natural Resources, Animals and Environment—DAFNAE, University of Padua, Agripolis Campus, Viale dell’Università 16, 35020 Legnaro, PD, Italy
Interests: nature-based solutions; greenhouse gas emission; crops irrigation
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Guest Editor
Net Zero and Resilient Farming, Rothamsted Research, North Wyke, Okehampton, Devon EX20 2SB, UK
Interests: greenhouse gases; nitrous oxide; methane; carbon dioxide

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

After the energy sector, human-induced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are originated by agriculture. GHG emissions exacerbate climate change, which has a direct negative effect on agricultural productions. It is, however, a challenging sector to mitigate due to pressures on food production, the use of fertiliser and the nature of this source, being biogenic. Thus, agriculture is called upon to provide efficient strategies to reduce GHG emissions, mitigate climate change, and maintain yields to meet world food demand.

Given the current magnitude of GHG emissions and CO2 removal in terrestrial ecosystems, GHG reduction strategies in agriculture, livestock and forestry are highly likely to have significant climate change mitigation potential, with relevant co-benefits for biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Currently, Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) activities approximately accounts to 13% of CO2, 44% of CH4, and 81% of N2O emissions from global human activities representing 23-37% of total net anthropogenic emissions of GHG. However, AFOLU can also be part of the solution due to carbon sequestration potential of the sector.

Climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies must consider improved cropland systems (increasing soil organic matter, erosion reduction, improved fertiliser management and nutrients use efficiency, improved crop management and adoption of genetic improvements for abiotic tolerance), livestock (enhanced manure management, sustainable management of pastoral systems, higher-quality feeds, breeds selection and genetic improvement) and other land uses (improved agroforestry management strategies, agri-food by-product valorisation for renewable energy production). The transition towards diversified food systems such as plant-based foods and local productions, offers great opportunities for adaptation and mitigation, while generating significant human health benefits and freeing millions of hectares. It should not be forgotten that the agricultural sector is not limited to food production encompassing a wide range of aspects such as urban and rural environment preservation, bioenergy production, soil fertility conservation, air quality improvement, carbon sequestration, and biodiversity safeguarding.

Urbanization contributes to altering natural or semi-natural ecosystems being a driver of emissions. Loss of agricultural land and increased pollution and waste are some of the major challenges arising from urbanization and urban growth that opens new areas for climate change mitigation. Green infrastructures natural and semi-natural areas designed and managed to deliver a wide range of ecosystem services such as water purification, air quality, space for recreation and climate mitigation and adaptation. Land conversion produces a loss of C due to the destruction of soil structure that also exposes the soil to erosion, affecting water courses with a build-up of sediments. Urban green infrastructures GHG emissions is a key aspect that should be evaluated.

This Special Issue of Agriculture aims to collect the latest findings about GHG emissions from agricultural systems and green infrastructures, understanding the mechanisms that originate them and the impact on climate change mitigation.

Dr. Leonardo Verdi
Dr. Carmelo Maucieri
Dr. Laura Cardenas
Guest Editors

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Agriculture is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • carbon dioxide
  • nitrous oxide
  • methane
  • denitrification
  • methanogenesis
  • methanotrophy
  • crop land
  • livestock
  • agroforestry
  • urban green areas

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

21 pages, 1924 KiB  
Article
Analysis of Interactions among Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Carbon Sinks, and Food Security in China’s Agricultural Systems
by Wenjie Yang and Xiaoyun Mo
Agriculture 2024, 14(5), 703; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14050703 - 29 Apr 2024
Viewed by 469
Abstract
Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and increasing the size of carbon sinks are closely related to food security in agricultural systems. This study conducted an in-depth data analysis of previous studies to explore the dynamic causal relationships among the reduction of emissions, carbon [...] Read more.
Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and increasing the size of carbon sinks are closely related to food security in agricultural systems. This study conducted an in-depth data analysis of previous studies to explore the dynamic causal relationships among the reduction of emissions, carbon sink increases, and food security in agricultural systems. The fixed-effect regression model, causality tests, PVAR model, impulse response functions, and variance decomposition were used to explore correlations among the three variables. The results show that the national average carbon sinks surged from 2662.194 Mg in 2000 to 4010.613 Mg in 2020, with the food security index concurrently climbing from 0.198 to 0.308. Moreover, GHG emissions exhibited a negative growth rate from 2016 onwards, yet the 2020 mean remained 142.625 Mg above the 2000 baseline. The agricultural “three subsidies” reform has not directly promoted food security, but significantly inhibited GHG emissions. However, conflicts exist between emissions reduction and carbon sinks increase in agricultural systems and food security. At the whole level, changes in carbon sinks only have a positive effect on the increase in GHG emissions, whereas changes in GHG emissions have a positive effect on both carbon sinks and food security. Changes in food security strongly inhibit the increase in carbon sinks. This relationship varies among distinct grain functional zones. Policy objectives should be coordinated, target thresholds set, and policies classified according to different functional orientations, to achieve a win–win situation for food supply and low-carbon development. Full article
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22 pages, 3336 KiB  
Article
Energy and Environmental Assessment of Bacteria-Inoculated Mineral Fertilizer Used in Spring Barley Cultivation Technologies
by Justinas Anušauskas, Andrius Grigas, Kristina Lekavičienė, Ernestas Zaleckas, Simona Paulikienė and Dainius Steponavičius
Agriculture 2024, 14(4), 569; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14040569 - 2 Apr 2024
Viewed by 676
Abstract
In the scientific literature there is a lack of information on the integrated effect of bioenriched complex mineral fertilizers in the energy and environmental aspects of spring barley production technology. The aim of this study was to validate the type of phosphorus-releasing bacteria [...] Read more.
In the scientific literature there is a lack of information on the integrated effect of bioenriched complex mineral fertilizers in the energy and environmental aspects of spring barley production technology. The aim of this study was to validate the type of phosphorus-releasing bacteria and to carry out an energy and environmental assessment of the use of mineral fertilizers enriched with them for barley fertilization. The experimental field studies (2020–2022) were carried out in open ground on sandy loam soil in southern Lithuania. Four barley cultivation technologies (SC) were applied. Control (SC–1) did not use complex mineral fertilizers; in SC–2, 300 kg ha−1 of N5P20.5K36 fertilizer was applied. In SC–3, the same fertilizer was enriched with a bacterial inoculant (Paenibacillus azotofixans, Bacillus megaterium, Bacillus mucilaginosus, and Bacillus mycoides) at a rate of 150 kg ha−1, and in SC–4, 300 kg ha−1 of N5P20.5K36 fertilizer were applied and the same enrichment with the bacterial inoculant was carried out. The results confirmed the hypothesis that spring barley cultivation technologies using bacterial inoculants (SC–3 and SC–4) have higher mineral fertilizer efficiency than SC–2. In all three years, the bacterial inoculant had a positive effect on phosphorus fertilizer efficiency. In SC–4 (2020) it was 8%, in 2021—7%, and in 2022—even 17% higher compared to SC–2. In terms of energy balance, a significant influence of the bacterial inoculant was found. In 2020 and 2021, the energy balance of SC–4 was 10%, and in 2022, 22.8% higher compared to SC–2. The increase in fertilizer use efficiency resulted in a positive environmental impact, with greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions decreasing by 10% in 2020, 15% in 2021, and 19% in 2022 when comparing SC–4 and SC–2. The use of the tested bacterial formulations, without changing the mineral fertilizer rate, can lead to an average reduction in GHG emissions of about 15%. This study demonstrates that enriching mineral fertilizers with specific bacterial inoculants for spring barley cultivation significantly enhances phosphorus efficiency, improves energy balance, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions, underscoring the potential for bioaugmented fertilizers to optimize agricultural sustainability. Full article
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23 pages, 21418 KiB  
Article
Assessing Methane Emissions from Rice Fields in Large Irrigation Projects Using Satellite-Derived Land Surface Temperature and Agronomic Flooding: A Spatial Analysis
by Sellaperumal Pazhanivelan, N. S. Sudarmanian, Vellingiri Geethalakshmi, Murugesan Deiveegan, Kaliaperumal Ragunath, A. P. Sivamurugan and P. Shanmugapriya
Agriculture 2024, 14(3), 496; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14030496 - 19 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1434
Abstract
Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery, notably Sentinel-1A’s C-band, VV, and VH polarized SAR, has emerged as a crucial tool for mapping rice fields, especially in regions where cloud cover hinders optical imagery. Employing multi-temporal characteristics, SAR data were regularly collected and parameterized using [...] Read more.
Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery, notably Sentinel-1A’s C-band, VV, and VH polarized SAR, has emerged as a crucial tool for mapping rice fields, especially in regions where cloud cover hinders optical imagery. Employing multi-temporal characteristics, SAR data were regularly collected and parameterized using MAPscape-Rice software, which integrates a fully automated processing chain to convert the data into terrain-geocoded σ° values. This facilitated the generation of rice area maps through a rule-based classifier approach, with classification accuracies ranging from 88.5 to 91.5 and 87.5 percent in 2017, 2018, and 2022, respectively. To estimate methane emissions, IPCC (37.13 kg/ha/season, 42.10 kg/ha/season, 43.19 kg/ha/season) and LST (36.05 kg/ha/season, 41.44 kg/ha/season, 38.07 kg/ha/season) factors were utilized in 2017, 2018 and 2022. Total methane emissions were recorded as 19.813 Gg, 20.661 Gg, and 25.72 Gg using IPCC and 19.155 Gg, 20.373 Gg, and 22.76 Gg using LST factors in 2017, 2018 and 2022. Overall accuracy in methane emission estimation, assessed against field observations, ranged from (IPCC) 85.71, 91.32, and 80.25 percent to (LST) 83.69, 91.43, and 84.69 percent for the years 2017, 2018 and 2022, respectively, confirming the efficacy of remote sensing in greenhouse gas monitoring and its potential for evaluating the impact of large-scale water management strategies on methane emissions and carbon credit-based ecosystem services at regional or national levels. Full article
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16 pages, 3918 KiB  
Article
The Effect of Long-Term Crop Rotations for the Soil Carbon Sequestration Rate Potential and Cereal Yield
by Lina Skinulienė, Aušra Marcinkevičienė, Mindaugas Dorelis and Vaclovas Bogužas
Agriculture 2024, 14(3), 483; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14030483 - 16 Mar 2024
Viewed by 897
Abstract
Depending on the type of agricultural use and applied crop rotation, soil organic carbon accumulation may depend, which can lead to less CO2 fixation in the global carbon cycle. Less is known about organic carbon emissions in different crop production systems (cereals, [...] Read more.
Depending on the type of agricultural use and applied crop rotation, soil organic carbon accumulation may depend, which can lead to less CO2 fixation in the global carbon cycle. Less is known about organic carbon emissions in different crop production systems (cereals, grasses) using different agrotechnologies. There is a lack of more detailed studies on the influence of carbon content in the soil on plant productivity, as well as the links between the physical properties of the soil and the absorption, viability, and emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) from mineral fertilizers. The aim of this study is to estimate the long-term effect of soil organic carbon sequestration potential in different crop rotations. The greatest potential for organic carbon sequestration is Norfolk-type crop rotation, where crops that reduce soil fertility are replaced by crops that increase soil fertility every year. Soil carbon sequestration potential was significantly higher (46.72%) compared with continuous black fallow and significantly higher from 27.70 to 14.19% compared with field with row crops and cereal crop rotations, respectively, intensive crop rotation saturated with intermediate crops. In terms of carbon sequestration, it is most effective to keep perennial grasses for one year while the soil is still full of undecomposed cereal straw from the previous crop. Black fallow without manure fertilization, compared to crop rotation, reduces the amount of organic carbon in the soil up to two times, the carbon management index by 2–5 times, and poses the greatest risk to the potential of carbon sequestration in agriculture. Full article
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12 pages, 1646 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Biochar Addition to Digestate, Slurry, and Manure for Mitigating Carbon Emissions
by Leonardo Verdi, Anna Dalla Marta, Simone Orlandini, Anita Maienza, Silvia Baronti and Francesco Primo Vaccari
Agriculture 2024, 14(1), 162; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14010162 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1250
Abstract
The contribution of animal waste storage on GHG emissions and climate change is a serious issue for agriculture. The carbon emissions that are generated from barns represent a relevant source of emissions that negatively affect the environmental performance measures of livestock production. In [...] Read more.
The contribution of animal waste storage on GHG emissions and climate change is a serious issue for agriculture. The carbon emissions that are generated from barns represent a relevant source of emissions that negatively affect the environmental performance measures of livestock production. In this experiment, CO2 and CH4 emissions from different animal wastes, namely, digestate, slurry, and manure, were evaluated both in their original form and with a biochar addition. The emissions were monitored using the static camber methodology and a portable gas analyzer for a 21-day period. The addition of biochar (at a ratio of 2:1 between the substrates and biochar) significantly reduced the emissions of both gases compared to the untreated substrates. Slurry exhibited higher emissions due to its elevated gas emission tendency. The biochar addition reduced CO2 and CH4 emissions by 26% and 21%, respectively, from the slurry. The main effect of the biochar addition was on the digestate, where the emissions decreased by 45% for CO2 and 78% for CH4. Despite a lower tendency to emit carbon-based gases of manure, biochar addition still caused relevant decreases in CO2 (40%) and CH4 (81%) emissions. Biochar reduced the environmental impacts of all treatments, with a GWP reduction of 55% for the digestate, 22% for the slurry, and 44% for the manure. Full article
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16 pages, 7752 KiB  
Article
The Emission from Rabbits Breeding in Slovakia
by Kristína Tonhauzer, Lenka Zetochová and Janka Szemesová
Agriculture 2023, 13(8), 1468; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13081468 - 25 Jul 2023
Viewed by 1117
Abstract
Statistical surveys about rabbits in households brought interesting results about their breeding. The survey shows that approx. 8.3% of Slovak households breed rabbits, of which the majority are bred in the countryside (61%), followed by breeding in cities (35%), and 4% of households [...] Read more.
Statistical surveys about rabbits in households brought interesting results about their breeding. The survey shows that approx. 8.3% of Slovak households breed rabbits, of which the majority are bred in the countryside (61%), followed by breeding in cities (35%), and 4% of households stated both options. As part of the investigation, information was also obtained on the method of breeding rabbits. The results showed that housing with the restriction of movement is the predominant breeding method. Housing without the restriction of movement is higher in cities compared to rural areas, while free breeding is absent in households for both options. The information on excrement recovery showed that approximately 59.5% of all farm waste is composted, 15.8% of respondents said that they apply farm excrement to the soil, and the remaining respondents did not answer. The post-processing survey results led to new estimates of methane and nitrous oxide emissions from domestic rabbit farming. The emissions were estimated using the methodology of the tier 2 approach outlined in the IPCC 2019 Refinement. The results indicated that rabbit breeding in households and farms in Slovakia generates an average of 0.51 Gg of methane and 0.13 Gg of nitrous oxide annually. Additionally, when free-range rabbit breeding is considered, emissions are 0.001 Gg of nitrous oxide. These greenhouse gas emissions from rabbit farming contribute to 7% of the total emissions from animal farming, ranking it as the third highest emitter after sheep. Consequently, it is imperative to prioritize the inclusion of this category in Slovakia’s national emissions report. Full article
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23 pages, 1044 KiB  
Article
Does Digital Technology Application Promote Carbon Emission Efficiency in Dairy Farms? Evidence from China
by Chenyang Liu, Xinyao Wang, Ziming Bai, Hongye Wang and Cuixia Li
Agriculture 2023, 13(4), 904; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13040904 - 20 Apr 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1755
Abstract
The implementation of digital technology has become paramount to facilitating green and low-carbon development in dairy farms amidst the advent of digital agriculture and low-carbon agriculture. This study examined the impact of digital technology implementation on the carbon emission efficiency of Chinese dairy [...] Read more.
The implementation of digital technology has become paramount to facilitating green and low-carbon development in dairy farms amidst the advent of digital agriculture and low-carbon agriculture. This study examined the impact of digital technology implementation on the carbon emission efficiency of Chinese dairy farms via an assessment of micro-survey data, incorporating an Undesirable Outputs-SBM model, a Tobit model, the propensity score matching technique, a quantile regression model, and an instrumental variable approach. This study examined the potential moderating influence of environmental regulations on digital technology applications and the carbon emission efficiency of dairy farms. The findings of the research indicate that the implementation of digital technology had a considerable beneficial consequence on the carbon emission proficiency of dairy farms. The statistical significance level of the mean treatment effect was 0.1161, with the most profound influence of precision feeding digital technology on the carbon emission efficiency in dairy farms. The application of digital technology has a more pronounced effect on dairy farms with lower levels of carbon emission efficiency compared to those with medium and high levels of carbon emission efficiency. The application of digital technology toward the carbon emission efficiency of dairy farms is positively moderated by environmental regulations. Finally, this paper puts forward some specific policy recommendations to achieve the strategic goal of low carbon and efficient development in dairy farms through the application of digital technology, which enriches the existing research on carbon emission reduction in dairy farms from theoretical and practical aspects. Full article
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