Main content area

Spatial and seasonal distribution of organic amendments affecting methane emission from Chinese rice fields

Wassmann, R., Shangguan, X.J., Tolg, M., Cheng, D.X., Wang, M.X., Papen, H., Rennenberg, H., Seiler, W.
Biology and fertility of soils 1996 v.22 no.3 pp. 191-195
rice soils, methane, losses from soil, seasonal variation, fertilizers, mixtures, green manures, rice straw, land application, organic fertilizers, spatial distribution, air pollution, emissions, pig manure, greenhouse gases, China
The effect of fertilizers on methane emission rates was investigated using an automated closed chamber system in Chinese rice fields (Hunan Province). Each of three experiments compared two fields treated with a first uniform fertilizer dose and a second fertilizer dose which was different for each of the two fields. The uniform fertilizer doses for both fields in each experiment comprised mineral (experiment 1), organic (experiment 2) and combined mineral plus organic components (experiment 3). In all three experiments the second fertilizer dose comprised organic amendments for field 1 and no organic amendments for field 2. The rate of increase in methane emission with a given amount of organic manure was found to depend on the total amount of organic manure applied. A single dose of organic manure increased the emission rates by factors of 2.7 to 4.1 as compared to fields without organic manure (experiment 1). In rice fields that had already been treated with organic manure, the application of a second dose of organic manure only slightly enhanced the emission rates in experiment 2 by factors of 1.1 to 1.5 and showed no detectable increase in experiment 3. The net reduction achieved by separation of organic and mineral fertilizers was maximized by concentrating the organic amendments in the season with low emission rates, i.e. early rice, and using exclusively mineral fertilizers on late rice when emission rates were generally higher. This distribution pattern, which was not associated with significant yield losses, resulted in an annual methane emission corresponding to only 56% of the methane emitted from fields treated with blended fertilizers.