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C and N accumulations in soil aggregates determine nitrous oxide emissions from cover crop treated rice paddy soils during fallow season

, : C and N accumulations in soil aggregates determine nitrous oxide emissions from cover crop treated rice paddy soils during fallow season. Science of the Total Environment 490: 622-628

Combination of leguminous and non-leguminous plant residues are preferably applied in rice paddy soils to increase the rate of organic matter mineralization and to improve plant growth. However, organic matter addition facilitates methane (CH4) emission from rice paddy soil. Mineralization of organic nitrogen (N) increases NO3-N concentrations in soil, which are precursors for the formation of nitrous oxide (N2O). However, N2O is a minor greenhouse gas emitted from submerged rice field and hence is not often considered during calculation of total global warming potential (GWP) during rice cultivation. The hypothesis of this study was that fluxes of N2O emissions might be changed after removal of flooded water from rice field and the effect of cover crops on N2O emissions in the fallow season might be interesting. However, the effects of N-rich plant residues on N2O emission rates in the fallow season and its effect on annual GWP were not studied before. In this experiment, combination of barley (non-leguminous) and hairy vetch (leguminous) biomasses were applied at 9 Mg ha(-1) and 27 Mg ha(-1) rates in rice paddy soil. Cover crop application significantly increased CH4 emission flux while decreased N2O emissions during rice cultivation. The lowest N2O emission was observed in 27 Mg ha(-1) cover crop treated plots. Cover crop applications increased N contents in soil aggregates especially in smaller aggregates (<250 μm), and that proportionately increased the N2O emission potentials of these soil aggregates. Fluxes of N2O emissions in the fallow season were influenced by the N2O emission potentials of soil aggregates and followed opposite trends as those observed during rice cultivation. Therefore, it could be concluded that the doses of cover crop applications for rice cultivation should not be optimized considering only CH4, but N2O should also be considered especially for fallow season to calculate total GWP.


PMID: 24880551

DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.05.046

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