Annual emissions of nitrous oxide and nitric oxide from a wheat-maize cropping system on a silt loam calcareous soil in the North China Plain

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Abstract

Nitrogen amendment followed by flooding irrigation is a general management practice for a wheat-maize rotation in the North China Plain, which may favor nitrification and denitrification. Consequently, high emissions of nitrous oxide (N 2O) and nitric oxide (NO) are hypothesized to occur. To test this hypothesis, we performed year-round field measurements of N 2O and NO fluxes from irrigated wheat-maize fields on a calcareous soil applied with all crop residues using a static, opaque chamber measuring system. To interpret the field data, laboratory experiments using intact soil cores with added carbon (glucose) and nitrogen (nitrate, ammonium) substrates were performed. Our field measurements showed that pulse emissions after fertilization and irrigation/rainfall contributed to 73% and 88% of the annual N 2O and NO emissions, respectively. Soil moisture and mineral nitrogen contents significantly affected the emissions of both gases. Annual emissions from fields fertilized at the conventional rate (600 kg N ha -1 yr -1) totaled 4.0 ± 0.2 and 3.0 ± 0.2 kg N ha -1 yr -1 for N 2O and NO, respectively, while those from unfertilized fields were much lower (0.5 ± 0.02 kg N ha -1 yr -1 and 0.4 ± 0.05 kg N ha -1 yr -1, respectively). Direct emission factors (EF ds) of N 2O and NO for the fertilizer nitrogen were estimated to be 0.59 ± 0.04% and 0.44 ± 0.04%, respectively. By summarizing the results of our study and others, we recommended specific EF ds (N 2O: 0.54 ± 0.09%; NO: 0.45 ± 0.04%) for estimating emissions from irrigated croplands on calcareous soils with organic carbon ranging from 5 to 16 g kg -1. Nitrification dominated the processes driving the emissions of both gases following fertilization. It was evident that insufficient available carbon limited microbial denitrification and thus N 2O emission. This implicates that efforts to enhance carbon sink in calcareous soils likely increase their N 2O emissions. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

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Cui, F., Yan, G., Zhou, Z., Zheng, X., & Deng, J. (2012). Annual emissions of nitrous oxide and nitric oxide from a wheat-maize cropping system on a silt loam calcareous soil in the North China Plain. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 48, 10–19. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.soilbio.2012.01.007

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