Low Carbon Agriculture and Low Reactive Nitrogen Losses under Intensification

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Farming Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2023) | Viewed by 14941

Special Issue Editor

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Guest Editor
College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing 210095, China
Interests: carbon footprint; nitrogen footprint; reactive nitrogen; greenhouse gases; nitrous oxide; greenhouse gas intensity; carbon budget; biochar; nitrogen use efficiency
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

To simultaneously feed the population and protect our environment, it’s critical to develop sustainable agriculture techniques under the context of intensification of production and global climate change. Excessive reactive nitrogen losses and greenhouse gas emissions inevitably lead to serious environmental consequences.

It’s imperative to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions such as nitrous oxide and methane emissions and improve ecosystem carbon budget, soil carbon sequestration, and lower reactive nitrogen losses including NH3, N2O, NO, NO3- losses while obtaining desirable crop productivity. Carbon and nitrogen footprint are closely related, and both are vital for realizing sustainable agriculture. Research works and reviews are welcome to understand the mechanisms of various approaches and strategies for sustainable low carbon and nitrogen agriculture from various agroecosystems, including staple crops, vegetable crops, pastures, and so on. Procedures involved in various reactive nitrogen and greenhouse gas production and emissions are key advancements in this special issue. Microbial mechanisms are critical for mitigating reactive nitrogen and greenhouse gases. Let’s serve together to meet a better environment and lifestyle by exploring the relationship between greenhouse gas emissions, reactive nitrogen losses, and crop production.

Prof. Dr. Zhengqin Xiong
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • carbon footprint
  • nitrogen footprint
  • reactive nitrogen
  • greenhouse gases
  • nitrous oxide
  • methane
  • greenhouse gas intensity
  • carbon budget
  • biochar
  • nitrogen use efficiency

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

15 pages, 811 KiB  
Article
Soil-Water Effects of Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions Should Be Weighed in Conjunction with Carbon Farming
by Jana Poláková, Jaroslava Janků, Josef Holec and Josef Soukup
Agronomy 2023, 13(4), 1002; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13041002 - 29 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1414
Abstract
Soil-water practice is essential for farm sustainability, thereby establishing the reference level for agricultural policy of the European Union (EU). This paper focuses on the critical gap in the knowledge surrounding comparison of soil-water effects of Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions (GAEC) and [...] Read more.
Soil-water practice is essential for farm sustainability, thereby establishing the reference level for agricultural policy of the European Union (EU). This paper focuses on the critical gap in the knowledge surrounding comparison of soil-water effects of Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions (GAEC) and carbon farming. We aim to interrogate the tasks assigned to soil-water standards during the 2005–2020 timeframe and identify soil-water effects under selected soil-water GAEC topics. The farm-level and landscape-scale effects were weighed for each standard. The investigation included an extensive meta-review of documents that featured scientific work on sustainable practice. In each GAEC document, soil-water sustainability was weighed vis-a-vis carbon farming. Our main finding was that the identification of soil-water effects within GAEC was addressed both at farm-enterprise level (E) and landscape scale (L). This identification was very similar among the sampled Member States (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia). A small differentiation was detected in how exact the guidance under each standard was in each of these Member States, and hence how the prioritization was scored, ranging from 1, most influential, to 5, least influential. The scores that prevailed were 2.5–5 on the part of the scoring instrument. Carbon farming is a welcome addition to the corpus of good farming practice and is complementary to GAEC. Full article
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19 pages, 1781 KiB  
Article
Use of Winery and Animal Waste as Fertilizers to Achieve Climate Neutrality in Non-Irrigated Viticulture
by Vassilis Litskas, Alicia Ledo, Patrick Lawrence, Antonios Chrysargyris, George Giannopoulos, Richard Heathcote, Astley Hastings, Nikolaos Tzortzakis and Menelaos Stavrinides
Agronomy 2022, 12(10), 2375; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12102375 - 30 Sep 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2612
Abstract
There is a growing interest globally in reducing the environmental impacts of farming by reusing agricultural waste and reducing agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In this work, the potential of Mediterranean viticulture for GHG emissions mitigation and Carbon (C) storage in biomass and [...] Read more.
There is a growing interest globally in reducing the environmental impacts of farming by reusing agricultural waste and reducing agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In this work, the potential of Mediterranean viticulture for GHG emissions mitigation and Carbon (C) storage in biomass and soil is examined. In a field experiment, synthetic fertilizer use was reduced by 50 and 100% after applying a winery waste-based biofertilizer, and the C balance was determined at the vineyard level. The Vineyard Carbon Tool (VCT) for GHG emissions estimation in vineyards was developed by tailoring to vineyards the widely used Cool Farm Tool (CFT). Our results show that existing conventional viticulture could be easily transformed into zero-emissions by reducing nitrogen (N) fertilizers, lowering tillage frequency, using less fuel, and maintaining field margin vegetation at the farm level. Use of Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) showed that farm input reductions lead to a vineyard lifetime C storage equal to 25,124 kg CO2-eq ha−1 or 837 kg CO2-eq ha−1 year−1. This approach could be used for the design of eco-schemes related to C farming under the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Full article
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13 pages, 1505 KiB  
Communication
Soil Organic Nitrogen Indirectly Enhances Pepper-Residue-Mediated Soil Disease Suppression through Manipulation of Soil Microbiome
by Shan Hong, Hongling Jv, Xianfu Yuan, Jianjian Geng, Beibei Wang, Yan Zhao, Qing Wang, Rong Li, Zhongjun Jia and Yunze Ruan
Agronomy 2022, 12(9), 2077; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12092077 - 31 Aug 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1415
Abstract
Banana Fusarium wilt-suppressive soils are effective against pathogen invasion, yet soil physicochemical factors responsible for conducive or suppressive behavior have not been reported. Here, we investigated the changes in banana biomass, disease incidence (DI), soil culturable microbes and physicochemical properties by incorporating pepper [...] Read more.
Banana Fusarium wilt-suppressive soils are effective against pathogen invasion, yet soil physicochemical factors responsible for conducive or suppressive behavior have not been reported. Here, we investigated the changes in banana biomass, disease incidence (DI), soil culturable microbes and physicochemical properties by incorporating pepper and banana residues into conducive and suppressive soils. Before the incorporation of any residues, the suppressive soil significantly increased banana biomass and decreased DI compared to the conducive soil. The biomass of the suppressive soil was significantly higher than that of the conducive soil after the incorporation of either pepper or banana residues. Compared with the control (CK), the incorporation of pepper residues to both soils significantly reduced DI, while banana residues had the opposite effect. Additionally, both conducive and suppressive soils supplemented with pepper residues significantly reduced the amounts of culturable Fusarium oxysporum and increased the amounts of beneficial Pseudomonas and Bacillus. The pepper residue extracts significantly inhibited the growth of F. oxysporum mycelium. Soil alkali-hydrolyzable nitrogen (AN) responded most strongly to residue application to suppressive soil. The AN factor was significantly and positively correlated with banana biomass; however, there was no direct and significant negative correlation with DI. Further analysis of the results showed that elevated AN content could stimulate the amounts of culturable Bacillus in the soil, and Bacillus antagonized the proliferation of pathogen and thus indirectly and effectively reduced banana DI. In conclusion, soil AN content can indirectly improve the disease suppression ability of pepper-residue-mediated suppressive soil by manipulating the soil microbiome. Full article
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18 pages, 2397 KiB  
Article
Effect of Deep Placement of Large Granular Fertilizer on Ammonia Volatilization, Soil Nitrogen Distribution and Rice Growth
by Pingyao Zhou, Zhen Zhang, Linsen Du, Geng Sun, Liang Su, Zhiyu Xiao, Chunwang Li, Zhichang Wang, Zhihua Xiao, Teng Hu, Keming Wang, Fang Ni, Shuping Wang and Hua Wang
Agronomy 2022, 12(9), 2066; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12092066 - 29 Aug 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2127
Abstract
Excessive fertilization is often applied to produce rice. To reduce nitrogen loss and improve nitrogen use efficiency (NUE), we studied the effects of application depth (surface application, 5 and 10 cm) and shape of nitrogen fertilizers (row application and deep application of large [...] Read more.
Excessive fertilization is often applied to produce rice. To reduce nitrogen loss and improve nitrogen use efficiency (NUE), we studied the effects of application depth (surface application, 5 and 10 cm) and shape of nitrogen fertilizers (row application and deep application of large granular fertilizer) on rice growth, soil N distribution and ammonia volatilization. The results showed that grain yield, shoot biomass and total dry biomass of the treatment with N in large granular fertilizer applied at 10 cm depth were significantly higher than those of all other treatments. Moreover, compared with the surface application, the N recovery efficiency and the N agronomic efficiency of deep application treatments were enhanced by 18.1–52.3% and 35.6–95.6%, respectively. Deep application significantly increased NH4+-N concentration at their fertilization points. During the growth season, N in large granular fertilizer treatments (mixed with clay to form an unusually large pellet of 1.0–1.5 cm in diameter) distributed closer to the roots, while N in other treatments, including row application treatments, was more widely distributed. Compared with the surface application, deep application significantly reduced NH3 volatilization and NH4+-N concentration in surface water by 58.7–64.8% and 26.0–72.5%, respectively. Furthermore, the NH3 volatilization from large granular treatment was 7.6–11.0% lower than that in the row application. In conclusion, applying N in large granular fertilizer at 10 cm depth reduces ammonia volatilization, and improves rice growth and grain yield, indicating improved NUE and lowered environmental risks. Full article
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14 pages, 3178 KiB  
Article
Emissions of Greenhouse Gases and NO from Rice Fields and a Peach Orchard as Affected by N Input and Land-Use Conversion
by Pinshang Xu, Zhaoqiang Han, Jie Wu, Zhutao Li, Jinyang Wang and Jianwen Zou
Agronomy 2022, 12(8), 1850; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12081850 - 4 Aug 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2255
Abstract
Nitrogen (N) inputs and land-use conversion are management practices that affect soil greenhouse gas (GHG) and nitric oxide (NO) emissions. Here, we measured soil methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and NO fluxes from rice fields and a peach orchard [...] Read more.
Nitrogen (N) inputs and land-use conversion are management practices that affect soil greenhouse gas (GHG) and nitric oxide (NO) emissions. Here, we measured soil methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and NO fluxes from rice fields and a peach orchard that converted from paddies to assess the impacts of nitrogen (N) inputs and land-use conversion on their emissions. Treatments included four paddy field treatments (PN0, PN160, PN220, and PN280) and one peach orchard treatment (ON280) with number indicating the N-input rate of kg N ha−1. The results showed that cumulative emissions of CH4, N2O and NO ranged from 28.6 to 85.3 kg C ha−1, 0.5 to 4.0 kg N ha−1 and 0.2 to 0.3 kg N ha−1 during the rice-growing season, respectively. In terms of greenhouse gas intensity, the PN280 treatment is the recommended N application rate. Land-use conversion significantly reduced the global warming potential from croplands. The conversion shifted soils from an essential source of CH4 to a small net sink. In addition, N2O emissions from the rice–wheat rotation system were 1.8 times higher than from the orchard, mainly due to the difference in the N application rate. In summary, to reduce agriculture-induced GHG emissions, future research needs to focus on the effects of N inputs on rice-upland crop rotation systems. Full article
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17 pages, 14139 KiB  
Article
Biochar Mitigated Yield-Scaled N2O and NO Emissions and Ensured Vegetable Quality and Soil Fertility: A 3-Year Greenhouse Field Observation
by Xi Zhang, Qianqian Zhang, Xintong Xu, Yubing Dong and Zhengqin Xiong
Agronomy 2022, 12(7), 1560; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12071560 - 29 Jun 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1644
Abstract
Biochar amendments have been widely used in agricultural soil for lowering N2O and NO emissions while improving soil fertility and crop performance. However, a thorough understanding of the longevity of the favorable effects would be a prerequisite for large-scale biochar application [...] Read more.
Biochar amendments have been widely used in agricultural soil for lowering N2O and NO emissions while improving soil fertility and crop performance. However, a thorough understanding of the longevity of the favorable effects would be a prerequisite for large-scale biochar application in agriculture. We conducted a three-year greenhouse vegetable trial in Southeast China to systematically investigate the impacts of biochar mixed with nitrogen (N) on soil N2O and NO emissions, vegetable performance, and soil fertility at an interannual scale. The field experiment was established in November 2016 with biochar (0, 20 and 40 t ha−1; C0, C1, and C2, respectively), applied once without/with 240 kg N ha−1 urea (N0 or N1, respectively). Soil N2O and NO emissions were monitored during the spring vegetable cultivation period, and vegetable yield, quality, and soil properties were measured after harvests in 2018, 2019, and 2020. Results indicated that N application significantly increased N2O and NO emissions and vegetable yield throughout the trial period. Biochar combined with N generally reduced N2O and NO emissions and emission factors while increasing the vegetable yield, leading to lower yield-scaled N2O and NO emissions in 2018 and 2019. Biochar markedly enhanced soil pH and organic carbon and persisted, but generally had no significant effect on N use efficiency (NUE), vegetable quality, and soil fertility index (SFI) among treatments in over-fertilized vegetable fields. Based on our results, biochar application at 20 t ha−1 combined with N seemed to achieve the highest agronomic and environmental benefits for intensive vegetable production in Southeast China. Full article
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14 pages, 1043 KiB  
Article
Carbon Budget of Paddy Fields after Implementing Water-Saving Irrigation in Northeast China
by Tiecheng Li, Tangzhe Nie, Peng Chen, Zuohe Zhang, Jiaxin Lan, Zhongxue Zhang, Zhijuan Qi, Yu Han and Lili Jiang
Agronomy 2022, 12(6), 1481; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12061481 - 20 Jun 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2068
Abstract
Water-saving irrigation is recognized as an effective agricultural management due to water security and environmental protection problems. In Northeast China, an increasing number of paddy fields are shifting from conventional irrigation to water-saving irrigation. However, there is limited knowledge regarding the carbon (C) [...] Read more.
Water-saving irrigation is recognized as an effective agricultural management due to water security and environmental protection problems. In Northeast China, an increasing number of paddy fields are shifting from conventional irrigation to water-saving irrigation. However, there is limited knowledge regarding the carbon (C) budget of paddy fields after implementing water-saving irrigation in Northeast China. A 2-year consecutive field study was performed from 2018 to 2019 using three different irrigation regimes (conventional irrigation (FI), controlled irrigation (CI), and intermittent irrigation (II)) and two nitrogen (N) fertilization levels (110 and 165 kg N ha−1) in a paddy field of Northeast China. The present study aimed to quantify the net ecosystem C budget (NECB) and net global warming potential (net GWP) after the implementation of water-saving irrigation in Northeast China. Both CI and II enhanced the C sequestration capacity of this paddy field. The net primary productivity (NPP) under CI and II was higher than FI by 18–38% and 11–33%, respectively, when the same N fertilization level was applied. The NECB ranged from 1151 to 2663 kg C ha−1, indicating that all treatments acted as net C sinks. II increased the NECB through increasing NPP, which exceeded increased removal of harvest and C mineralized losses. Under II, the NECB was significantly higher than FI and CI when the same N fertilization level was applied (p < 0.05). The net GWP under II and CI was significantly lower than FI (p < 0.05). The net GWP under II was lower than CI when the N fertilization level was 165 kg N ha−1, but no significant differences were detected. These results demonstrated that the II with 165 kg N ha−1 of paddy fields strongly decreased net GWP in Northeast China to combat global climate change. Full article
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