|Title||Optimizing rates and sources of nutrient input to mitigate nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon losses from rice paddies|
|Author(s)||Ding, Wencheng; He, Ping; Zhang, Jiajia; Liu, Yingxia; Xu, Xinpeng; Ullah, Sami; Cui, Zhenling; Zhou, Wei|
|Source||Journal of Cleaner Production 256 (2020). - ISSN 0959-6526|
|Department(s)||Soil Geography and Landscape|
|Publication type||Refereed Article in a scientific journal|
|Keyword(s)||Enhanced-efficiency fertilizer - Greenhouse gas - Manure N - N threshold - Nutrient loss - Straw return|
Decreasing nutrient losses from excessive synthetic fertilizer inputs is the direct and valid way to address low nutrient use efficiency and the related environmental consequences. Here, we established a comprehensive database of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and carbon (C) losses from rice paddy fields in China, which we used to evaluate fertilization-induced losses and the impact of environmental factors, and to mitigate losses by adopting alternative fertilization options and setting input thresholds. Our results showed that most N-loss pathways had exponential increases with additional N input. In average, 23.8% of the N applied was lost via NH3 (16.1%), N2O (0.3%), leaching (4.8%), and runoff (2.6%). Total P loss was approximately 2.7% of the input, composed of leaching (1.3%) and runoff (1.4%). C lost as CH4 accounted for 4.9% of the organic C input. A relative importance analysis indicated that climate or soil variation rather than fertilizer rate was the dominant factor driving N and P leaching, and CH4 emissions. Based on the sensitivity of multiple N-loss pathways to N fertilization, we propose upper thresholds for N inputs of 142–191 kg N ha−1 across four rice types, which would avoid dramatic increases in N losses. Compared to conventional chemical fertilization, alternative fertilization options had diverse performances: enhanced-efficiency N fertilizer reduced N loss rate by 7.8 percent points and the global warming potential (GWP, considering N2O and CH4 emissions) by 28.8%; combined manure and chemical N fertilizer reduced N loss rate by 9.0 percent points but increased the GWP by 56.9%; straw return had no effect on total N loss but almost doubled the GWP. Using nutrient sources most appropriate to site-specific conditions is demonstrated as a robust way to decrease nutrient losses. Setting nutrient input thresholds would also contribute to the mitigation of environmental pollution, especially in regions with poor fertilization recommendation systems.