Assessing impacts of alternative fertilizer management practices on both nitrogen loading and greenhouse gas emissions in rice cultivation


Nitrogen (N) losses and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from paddy rice fields contaminate water bodies and atmospheric environment. A 2-year (2012–2013) field experiment was conducted at a typical paddy rice field in a rural suburb of Shanghai, China. N losses and GHG emissions from the paddy field with alternative fertilizer management practices were simultaneously measured. Four treatments were tested in the experiment: applications of only chemical synthetic fertilizer urea (CT), only organic manure (OT), a combination of the two types of fertilizers (MT) and a control (CK). Results from the field study indicated that CT produced the highest seasonal N loading rate (18.79 kg N/ha) and N2O emissions (1.81 kg N2O/ha) but with the lowest seasonal CH4 emissions (69.09 kg CH4/ha). With organic manure applied, MT and OT respectively reduced N loading by 21.86% and 30.41%, reduced N2O emissions by 28.34% and 69.41%, but increased CH4 emissions by 137% and 310% in comparison with CT. However, the net impact of CH4 and N2O emissions on global warming was enhanced when organic manure was applied. In addition, CT and MT produced the optimal rice yield during the experimental period, while OT treatment led to a yield reduction by 9.29% compared with CT. In conclusion, the impacts of alternative fertilizer management practices on ecosystem services ought to be assessed specifically due to the great variations across rice yields, N loss and GHG emissions.


Earth Systems Research Center

Publication Date


Journal Title

Atmospheric Environment



Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Document Type



© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.