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Sustainability 2017, 9(4), 510; doi:10.3390/su9040510

Comparison of Organic and Integrated Nutrient Management Strategies for Reducing Soil N2O Emissions

1
Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL 61801, USA
2
Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE 68583, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Suren N. Kulshreshtha and Elaine Wheaton
Received: 25 January 2017 / Revised: 13 March 2017 / Accepted: 22 March 2017 / Published: 28 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agricultural and Climate Change)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [243 KB, uploaded 28 March 2017]

Abstract

To prevent nutrient limitations to crop growth, nitrogen is often applied in agricultural systems in the form of organic inputs (e.g., crop residues, manure, compost, etc.) or inorganic fertilizer. Inorganic nitrogen fertilizer has large environmental and economic costs, particularly for low-input smallholder farming systems. The concept of combining organic, inorganic, and biological nutrient sources through Integrated Nutrient Management (INM) is increasingly promoted as a means of improving nutrient use efficiency by matching soil nutrient availability with crop demand. While the majority of previous research on INM has focused on soil quality and yield, potential climate change impacts have rarely been assessed. In particular, it remains unclear whether INM increases or decreases soil nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions compared to organic nitrogen inputs, which may represent an overlooked environmental tradeoff. The objectives of this review were to (i) summarize the mechanisms influencing N2O emissions in response to organic and inorganic nitrogen (N) fertilizer sources, (ii) synthesize findings from the limited number of field experiments that have directly compared N2O emissions for organic N inputs vs. INM treatments, (iii) develop a hypothesis for conditions under which INM reduces N2O emissions and (iv) identify key knowledge gaps to address in future research. In general, INM treatments having low carbon to nitrogen ratio C:N (<8) tended to reduce emissions compared to organic amendments alone, while INM treatments with higher C:N resulted in no change or increased N2O emissions. View Full-Text
Keywords: integrated nutrient management (INM); nitrous oxide emissions; organic nitrogen inputs; inorganic nitrogen fertilizer integrated nutrient management (INM); nitrous oxide emissions; organic nitrogen inputs; inorganic nitrogen fertilizer
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Graham, R.F.; Wortman, S.E.; Pittelkow, C.M. Comparison of Organic and Integrated Nutrient Management Strategies for Reducing Soil N2O Emissions. Sustainability 2017, 9, 510.

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