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Effect of irrigation, nitrogen application, and a nitrification inhibitor on nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide and methane emissions from an olive (Olea europaea L.) orchard

Maris, S.C., Teira-Esmatges, M.R., Arbonés, A., Rufat, J.
The Science of the total environment 2015 v.538 pp. 966-978
Olea europaea, carbon dioxide, crop yield, denitrification, emissions factor, fertigation, field experimentation, global warming, greenhouse gas emissions, greenhouse gases, groves, irrigation management, methane, microirrigation, nitrification inhibitors, nitrogen, nitrogen fertilizers, nitrous oxide, oils, olives, orchards, oxidation, production costs, trees
Drip irrigation combined with nitrogen (N) fertigation is applied in order to save water and improve nutrient efficiency. Nitrification inhibitors reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A field study was conducted to compare the emissions of nitrous oxide (N2O), carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) associated with the application of N fertiliser through fertigation (0 and 50kgNha−1), and 50kgNha−1+nitrification inhibitor in a high tree density Arbequina olive orchard. Spanish Arbequina is the most suited variety for super intensive olive groves. This system allows reducing production costs and increases crop yield. Moreover its oil has excellent sensorial features. Subsurface drip irrigation markedly reduced N2O and N2O+N2 emissions compared with surface drip irrigation. Fertiliser application significantly increased N2O+N2, but not N2O emissions. Denitrification was the main source of N2O. The N2O losses (calculated as emission factor) ranging from −0.03 to 0.14% of the N applied, were lower than the IPCC (2007) values. The N2O+N2 losses were the largest, equivalent to 1.80% of the N applied, from the 50kgNha−1+drip irrigation treatment which resulted in water filled pore space >60% most of the time (high moisture). Nitrogen fertilisation significantly reduced CO2 emissions in 2011, but only for the subsurface drip irrigation strategies in 2012. The olive orchard acted as a net CH4 sink for all the treatments. Applying a nitrification inhibitor (DMPP), the cumulative N2O and N2O+N2 emissions were significantly reduced with respect to the control. The DMPP also inhibited CO2 emissions and significantly increased CH4 oxidation. Considering global warming potential, greenhouse gas intensity, cumulative N2O emissions and oil production, it can be concluded that applying DMPP with 50kgNha−1+drip irrigation treatment was the best option combining productivity with keeping greenhouse gas emissions under control.