Management opportunities to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from Chinese agriculture

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Nayak, D., Saetnan, E., Cheng, K., Wang, W., Koslowski, F., Cheng, Y-F., Zhu, W. Y., Wang, J-K., Liu, J-X., Moran, D., Yan, X., Cardenas, L. M., Newbold, J., Pan, G., Lu, Y. and Smith, P. 2015. Management opportunities to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from Chinese agriculture. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment. 209 (1 November), pp. 108-124. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2015.04.035

AuthorsNayak, D., Saetnan, E., Cheng, K., Wang, W., Koslowski, F., Cheng, Y-F., Zhu, W. Y., Wang, J-K., Liu, J-X., Moran, D., Yan, X., Cardenas, L. M., Newbold, J., Pan, G., Lu, Y. and Smith, P.
Abstract

Agriculture accounts for approximately 11% of China’s national greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Through adoption of region-specific best management practices, Chinese farmers can contribute to emission reduction while maintaining food security for its large population (>1300 Million). This paper presents the outcome of a bottom–up assessment to quantify technical potential of mitigation measures for Chinese agriculture using meta-analysis of data from 240 publications for cropland, 67 publications for grassland and 139 publications for livestock, and provides the reference scenario for the cost analysis of identified mitigation measures. Management options with greatest mitigation potential for rice, or rice-based cropping systems are conservation tillage, controlled irrigation; replacement of urea with ammonium sulphate, nitrogen (N) inhibitor application, reduced N fertilizer application, integrated rice-fish-duck farming and biochar application. A 15% reduction in current average synthetic N fertilizer application for rice in China i.e., 231 kg N ha−1, would result in 12% decrease in direct soil nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions. Combined application of chemical and organic fertilizer, conservation tillage, biochar application and reduced N application are possible measures that can reduce overall GHG emissions from upland cropping systems. Conventional fertilizer inputs for greenhouse vegetables are more than 2–8 times the optimal crop nutrient demand. A 20–40% reduction in N fertilizer application to vegetable crops can reduce N2O emissions by 32–121%, while not negatively impacting the yield. One of the most important mitigation measures for agricultural grasslands could be conversion of low yielding cropland, particularly on slopes, to shrub land or grassland, which is also a promising option to decrease soil erosion. In addition, grazing exclusion and reduced grazing intensity can increase SOC sequestration and decrease overall emissions while improving the largely degraded grasslands. For livestock production, where poor quality forage is commonly fed, improving grazing management and diet quality can reduce methane (CH4) emissions by 11% and 5%, on average. Dietary supplements can reduce CH4 emissions further, with lipids (15% reduction) and tannins or saponins (11% reduction) showing the greatest potential. We also suggest the most economically cost-effective mitigation measures, drawing on related work on the construction of marginal abatement cost curves for the sector.

KeywordsAgriculture; Management; Technical potential; Economic potential; Cropland; Grassland; Livestock; MACC; China
Year of Publication2015
JournalAgriculture, Ecosystems & Environment
Journal citation209 (1 November), pp. 108-124
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2015.04.035
Open accessPublished as non-open access
FunderDepartment of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Publisher's version
Copyright license
Publisher copyright
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online27 May 2015
Publication process dates
Accepted30 Apr 2015
ISSN0167-8809
PublisherElsevier Science Bv

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