Special Issue "Cropping Systems: Implications on Climate and Environment"

A special issue of Agriculture (ISSN 2077-0472). This special issue belongs to the section "Agricultural Systems and Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 September 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Luca Vitale
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute for Agricultural and Forestry Systems in the Mediterranean (ISAFoM), National Research Council of Italy-CNR, 80055 Portici, NA, Italy
Interests: agroecology; greenhouse gases; ecosystem carbon fluxes; crop ecology; crop physiology; nitrogen and carbon cycles
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Carmen Arena
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biology, University of Naples Federico II, Via Cinthia, 80126 Naples, Italy
Interests: plant ecology; photosynthetic regulation mechanisms; antioxidant defenses; photoprotective strategies; abiotic stress metabolic response
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Anna Tedeschi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Biosciences and Bioresources (IBBR), National Research Council of Italy-CNR, 80055 Portici, Naples, Italy
Interests: soil salinity; saline water; crop production; abiotic stress; irrigation management; water use efficiency; sustainable agriculture; horticultural and fiber crops

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Modern agricultural systems, characterized by intensive productions and soil utilization, have a deep impact on both climate and environment. A large number of management practices contribute to emissions in the atmosphere of trace gases affecting the climate. CO2, N2O, CH4, and water vapor represent the main greenhouse gases released in atmosphere by cropping systems and involved in the global warming; BVOC also have implications on climate by influencing chemistry and physics of the atmosphere.

Crop management may strongly affect the environment. More specifically, the intensive use of fertilizers and pesticides, as well as frequent and intense soil tillage to improve crop production, may alter all the environmental compartments. Among fertilizers, nitrogen-base compounds contribute more than others to greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. The overuse of nitrogen fertilizers may result in nitrate leaching from the soil, thus determining groundwater pollution. In addition, the use of pesticides leads to a decline of soil fertility due to a reduced soil microbial activity. Finally, frequent soil tillage might negatively affect soil quality by altering soil structure, accelerating surface runoff, soil erosion and nutrient loss, and changing microorganisms’ activity.

In order to mitigate the impact of cropping systems on climate and environment, it is crucial to shift toward sustainable agriculture, merging the intensification of productions with environmental well-being. This goal can be achieved via a profound knowledge of soil–plant–atmosphere interactions and the use of eco-friendly agronomic practices.

This Special Issue will accept reviews and full and short research papers from a broad range of interdisciplinary research concerning agroecosystems and management practices, also including the impact of manure and tillage on soil, soil biota, and soil–plant interactions. 

Particularly welcome are research papers on the following topics:

  • Crop and soil management
  • Agroecology
  • Sustainable intensification of productions
  • Crop ecology
  • Mass and energy exchange between biosphere and atmosphere
  • Greenhouse gases

Dr. Luca Vitale
Dr. Carmen Arena
Dr. Anna Tedeschi
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Agriculture is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • BVOC emissions
  • Soil microorganisms
  • CO2, CH4, N2O emissions
  • Crop productivity
  • Irrigation
  • Nitrogen fertilization
  • Tillage
  • Organic manure
  • Plant growth promoting bacteria
  • Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi
  • Biostimulants
  • Agronomic techniques

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Article
Microbiological Nitrogen Transformations in Soil Treated with Pesticides and Their Impact on Soil Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Agriculture 2021, 11(8), 787; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11080787 - 17 Aug 2021
Viewed by 965
Abstract
Research was conducted in connection with the pressure exerted by man on the environment through the use of pesticides. The aim of the study was to assess the impact of pesticides on soil and to evaluate the effect of these changes on greenhouse [...] Read more.
Research was conducted in connection with the pressure exerted by man on the environment through the use of pesticides. The aim of the study was to assess the impact of pesticides on soil and to evaluate the effect of these changes on greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. The research was carried out on soil sown with oilseed rape. The activity of protease and urease, ammonification, nitrification in soil, as well as CO2 (carbon dioxide) and N2O (nitrous oxide) gas emissions from soil were assessed. The analyses were carried out directly after harvest and 2 months after. Pesticides most frequently negatively affected the tested parameters, in particular enzymatic activities. Of the two herbicides used, Roundup had a stronger negative impact on microbial activity. The application of pesticides, especially the fungicide, resulted in an increase in gas emissions to the atmosphere over time. Pesticides disturbed soil environmental balance, probably interfering with qualitative and quantitative relationships of soil microorganism populations and their metabolic processes. This led to the accumulation of microbial activity products in the form of, among others, gases which contribute to the greenhouse effect by escaping from the soil into the atmosphere. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cropping Systems: Implications on Climate and Environment)
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Article
Influence of Tillage on the Production Inputs, Outputs, Soil Compaction and GHG Emissions
Agriculture 2021, 11(5), 456; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11050456 - 18 May 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 787
Abstract
Fertilizer inputs, crop yields, the composition of technological operations and intensity of treatment with different types of pesticides in both basic approaches were evaluated. A comprehensive comparison of impacts showed that all crops, except sugar beet, achieved better economic and emission parameters of [...] Read more.
Fertilizer inputs, crop yields, the composition of technological operations and intensity of treatment with different types of pesticides in both basic approaches were evaluated. A comprehensive comparison of impacts showed that all crops, except sugar beet, achieved better economic and emission parameters of production based on the evaluation of GHG production by using reduced tillage compared to ploughing. The total reduction of GHG emissions based on CO2eq on average of all crops per ton as a result of the technological processes was 6% using reduced tillage. The most significant CO2eq reductions were achieved for rye and oat (13%), and spring barley (8%). The reduction of crop yields ranges from about 1% (spring barley) to 4% (grain maize). Cost reduction per tone was in the range of 14% (rye) to 2% (silage maize). The energy gain was at reduced tillage improved at poppy (8%), rape (4%), oat (3%), rye (3%) and spring and winter barley (2%). From the evaluation of the number of chemical protections, a lower number of total protections was found at the no-till system for most crops. In most cases, there was no difference between ploughing and reduced tillage. There was an increase in specific nitrogen consumption per tonne of production in marginal areas, reduced tillage led to an increase in soil compaction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cropping Systems: Implications on Climate and Environment)
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Article
Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium Application Rate on the Young Seedling Growth of Salvadora persica
Agriculture 2021, 11(4), 291; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11040291 - 28 Mar 2021
Viewed by 632
Abstract
Salvadora persica is the most used medicinal shrub in the Arab world. This experiment was conducted to evaluate seedling performance at different rates of NPK. Seedlings were treated with N:P:K at 4:2:2 (N:P:K 2:2:2 g + 2 g of nitrogen supplemented as ammonium [...] Read more.
Salvadora persica is the most used medicinal shrub in the Arab world. This experiment was conducted to evaluate seedling performance at different rates of NPK. Seedlings were treated with N:P:K at 4:2:2 (N:P:K 2:2:2 g + 2 g of nitrogen supplemented as ammonium sulfate), 6:3:3 (N:P:K 3:3:3 g + 3 g of nitrogen supplemented as ammonium sulfate), 2:1:1S (N:P:K 1:1:1 g + 1 g of nitrogen supplemented as ammonium sulfate), 2:1:1U (N:P:K 1:1:1 g + 1 g of nitrogen supplemented as urea), 4:1:1S (N:P:K 1:1:1 g + 3 g of nitrogen supplemented as ammonium sulfate), 4:1:1U (N:P:K 1:1:1 g + 3 g of nitrogen supplemented as urea), 6:1:1S (N:P:K 1:1:1 g + 5 g of nitrogen supplemented as ammonium sulfate), 6:1:1U (N:P:K 1:1:1 g + 5 g of nitrogen supplemented as urea) in addition to the control. The results indicated that NPK application significantly affected the vegetative and root growth parameters and the chemical contents. Among the various treatments of NPK, the application of 6:3:3 rates showed the highest values for aboveground parts, root parameters, and greenness level. Therefore, the present study demonstrates the optimum NPK levels that can enhance seedling growth throughout the nursery period. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cropping Systems: Implications on Climate and Environment)
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Article
Projection of Rice and Maize Productions in Northern Thailand under Climate Change Scenario RCP8.5
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11010023 - 01 Jan 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1299
Abstract
Climate change has an effect human living in a variety of ways, such as health and food security. This study presents a prediction of crop yields and production risks during the years 2020–2029 in northern Thailand using the coupling of a 1 km [...] Read more.
Climate change has an effect human living in a variety of ways, such as health and food security. This study presents a prediction of crop yields and production risks during the years 2020–2029 in northern Thailand using the coupling of a 1 km resolution regional climate model, which is downscaled using a conservative remapping method, and the Decision Support System for the Transfer of Agrotechnology (DSSAT) modeling system. The accuracy of the climate and agricultural model was appropriate compared with the observations, with an Index of Agreement (IOA) in the range of 0.65–0.89. The results reveal the negative effects of climate change on rice and maize production in northern Thailand. We show that, in northern Thailand, rainfed rice and maize production may be reduced by 5% for rice and 4% for maize. Moreover, rice and maize production risk analysis showed that maize production is at a high risk of low production, while rice production is at a low risk. Additional irrigation, crop diversification, the selection of appropriate planting dates and methods of conservation are promising adaptation strategies in northern Thailand that may improve crop production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cropping Systems: Implications on Climate and Environment)
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Article
Effects of the Fertilizer Added with DMPP on Soil Nitrous Oxide Emissions and Microbial Functional Diversity
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11010012 - 27 Dec 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1011
Abstract
Agricultural sites contribute extensively to atmospheric emissions of climate-altering gases such as nitrous oxide. Several strategies have been considered to mitigate the impact of agriculture on climate, among these the utilization of fertilizers added with nitrification inhibitors such as DMPP (3,4-dimethylpyrazole phosphate) may [...] Read more.
Agricultural sites contribute extensively to atmospheric emissions of climate-altering gases such as nitrous oxide. Several strategies have been considered to mitigate the impact of agriculture on climate, among these the utilization of fertilizers added with nitrification inhibitors such as DMPP (3,4-dimethylpyrazole phosphate) may represent a suitable solution. DMPP inhibits the growth and activity of ammonia-oxidizing microorganisms, particularly the ammonia-oxidizing bacteria, which are involved in N2O production. At present, little information is available on the effects of DMPP on the catabolic diversity of soil microbial community. In this study, the N2O emission by soil was performed by using the static chamber technique. The biological determinations of the microbial biomass carbon and the catabolic profile were assessed by measuring the substrate-induced respiration during the entire growing season of a potato crop under two nitrogen treatments: fertilization with and without DMPP. Our results did not show a clear mitigation of N2O emission by DMPP, even if a tendency to lower N2O fluxes in DMPP plots occurred when soil temperatures were lower than 20 °C. Conversely, DMPP deeply affected the microbial biomass and the catabolism of soil microorganisms, exerting a negative effect when it accumulated in excessive doses in the soil, limiting the growth and the capacity of soil microorganism communities to use different substrates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cropping Systems: Implications on Climate and Environment)
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Article
Effects of Irrigation on N2O Emissions in a Maize Crop Grown on Different Soil Types in Two Contrasting Seasons
Agriculture 2020, 10(12), 623; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10120623 - 11 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 693
Abstract
Crop management and soil properties affect greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from cropping systems. Irrigation is one of the agronomical management practices that deeply affects soil nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions. Careful management of irrigation, also concerning to soil type, might mitigate the [...] Read more.
Crop management and soil properties affect greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from cropping systems. Irrigation is one of the agronomical management practices that deeply affects soil nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions. Careful management of irrigation, also concerning to soil type, might mitigate the emissions of this powerful GHG from agricultural soils. In the Mediterranean area, despite the relevance of the agricultural sector to the overall economy and sustainable development, the topic of N2O emissions does not have the same importance as N2O fluxes in temperate agricultural areas. Only some research has discussed N2O emissions from Mediterranean cropping systems. Therefore, in this study, N2O emissions from different soil types (sandy-loam and clay soils) were analyzed in relation to the irrigation of a maize crop grown in two contrasting seasons (2009–2010). The irrigation was done using a center pivot irrigation system about twice a week. The N2O emissions were monitored throughout the two-years of maize crop growth. The emissions were measured with the accumulation technique using eight static chambers (four chambers per site). Nitrogen fertilizer was applied in the form of ammonium sulphate and urea with 3,4 dimethylpyrazole phosphate (DMPP) nitrification inhibitors. In 2009, the N2O emissions and crop biomass measured in both soil types were lower than those measured in 2010. This situation was a lower amount of water and nitrogen (N) available to the crop. In 2010, the N2O fluxes were higher in the clay site than those in the sandy-loam site after the first fertilization, whereas an opposite trend was found after the second fertilization. The soil temperature, N content, and soil humidity were the main drivers for N2O emission during 2009, whereas during 2010, only the N content and soil humidity affected the nitrous oxide emissions. The research has demonstrated that crop water management deeply affects soil N2O emissions, acting differently for denitrification and nitrification. The soil properties affect N2O emission by influencing the microclimate conditions in the root zone, conditioning the N2O production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cropping Systems: Implications on Climate and Environment)
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Article
Sociocultural Mechanisms Concerning Cropping Systems in Mountain Agriculture: A Case Study of the Eastern Slopes of Tanzania’s Uluguru Mountains
Agriculture 2020, 10(9), 377; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10090377 - 27 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 719
Abstract
In agricultural science, the establishment of a given cropping system in mountainous areas is often understood from the relationship between differences of altitude-specific, agroecological conditions and crop cultivation characteristics. However, social factors can also play a role. We aimed to clarify how the [...] Read more.
In agricultural science, the establishment of a given cropping system in mountainous areas is often understood from the relationship between differences of altitude-specific, agroecological conditions and crop cultivation characteristics. However, social factors can also play a role. We aimed to clarify how the cropping system is maintained through examining sociocultural factors, specifically land tenure and marriage systems, in an agricultural community in rural mountainous Africa. Several surveys based on participatory observation accompanied by home stays were conducted to determine people who participated in cropping systems and to understand which social system maintained the cropping system. We found that around 70% of target households in Kiboguwa village cultivated three staple crops (maize, cassava and rice) using the same cropping system and almost no farmers outside the village used the village’s sloped fields, meaning that the villagers maintained the cropping system. Households acquired nearby sloped fields by various means such as inheriting land through maternal lineage of household heads or wives. We observed virilocal and uxorilocal residence at similar degrees—and if either the husband or wife was from outside the village, that household would also have fields outside the village. However, nearly 80% of marriages were intravillage and villagers predominantly used fields located within the village limits regardless of the residence type, which helped maintain the cropping system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cropping Systems: Implications on Climate and Environment)
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