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Petersen, SO; Regina, K; Pollinger, A; Rigler, E; Valli, L; Yamulki, S; Esala, M; Fabbri, C; Syvasalo, E; Vinther, FP.
(2006): Nitrous oxide emissions from organic and conventional crop rotations in five European countries

Nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from agriculture are currently estimated from N inputs using emission factors, and little is known about the importance of regional or management-related differences. This paper summarizes the results of a study in which N2O emission rates were recorded on 15-26 occasions during a 12-month period in organic and conventional dairy crop rotations in five European countries (Austria, Denmark, Finland, Italy, UK). A common methodology based on static chambers was used for N2O flux measurements, and N2O data were compiled together with information about N inputs (from fertilizers, N-2 fixation, atmospheric deposition and excretal returns), crop rotations and soil properties. Organic rotations received only manure as N fertilizer, while manure accounted for 0-100% of fertilizer N in conventional rotations. A linear regression model was used to examine effects of location, system and crop category on N2O emissions, while a second model examined effects of soil properties. Nitrous oxide emissions were higher from conventional than from organic crop rotations except in Austria and, according to the statistical analysis, the differences between locations and crop categories were significant. Ammonium was significantly related to N2O emissions, although this effect was dominated by observations from a grazing system. Despite the limited number of samplings, annual emissions were estimated by interpolation. Across the two systems and five locations there was a significant relationship between total N inputs and N2O emissions at the crop rotation level which indicated that annually 1.6 +/- 0.2% (mean +/- standard error) of total N inputs were lost as N2O, while there was a background emission of 1.4 +/- 0.3 kg N2O-N ha(-1) year(-1). Although this measurement program emphasized system effects at the expense of high temporal resolution, the results indicate that N input is a significant determinant for N2O emissions from agricultural soils. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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nitrous oxide
crop rotations
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