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Direct nitrous oxide emissions from oilseed rape cropping - a meta-analysis

Walter, Katja; Don, Axel; Fuß, Roland; Kern, Jürgen; Drewer, Julia; Flessa, Heinz. 2015 Direct nitrous oxide emissions from oilseed rape cropping - a meta-analysis. Global Change Biology Bioenergy, 7 (6). 1260-1271. 10.1111/gcbb.12223

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Abstract/Summary

Oilseed rape is one of the leading feedstocks for biofuel production in Europe. The climate change mitigation effect of rape methyl ester (RME) is particularly challenged by the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions during crop production, mainly as nitrous oxide (N2O) from soils. Oilseed rape requires high nitrogen fertilization and crop residues are rich in nitrogen, both potentially causing enhanced N2O emissions. However, GHG emissions of oilseed rape production are often estimated using emission factors that account for crop-type specifics only with respect to crop residues. This meta-analysis therefore aimed to assess annual N2O emissions from winter oilseed rape, to compare them to those of cereals and to explore the underlying reasons for differences. For the identification of the most important factors, linear mixed effects models were fitted with 43 N2O emission data points deriving from 12 different field sites. N2O emissions increased exponentially with N-fertilization rates, but interyear and site-specific variability were high and climate variables or soil parameters did not improve the prediction model. Annual N2O emissions from winter oilseed rape were 22% higher than those from winter cereals fertilized at the same rate. At a common fertilization rate of 200 kg N ha−1 yr−1, the mean fraction of fertilizer N that was lost as N2O-N was 1.27% for oilseed rape compared to 1.04% for cereals. The risk of high yield-scaled N2O emissions increased after a critical N surplus of about 80 kg N ha−1 yr−1. The difference in N2O emissions between oilseed rape and cereal cultivation was especially high after harvest due to the high N contents in oilseed rape's crop residues. However, annual N2O emissions of winter oilseed rape were still lower than predicted by the Stehfest and Bouwman model. Hence, the assignment of oilseed rape to the crop-type classes of cereals or other crops should be reconsidered.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1111/gcbb.12223
CEH Sections: Dise
ISSN: 1757-1693
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - Official URL link provides full text.
Additional Keywords: biofuel, Brassica napus, canola, greenhouse gas emission, N2O, RME
NORA Subject Terms: Atmospheric Sciences
Date made live: 28 Oct 2014 12:41 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/508696

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